[I like this cover for the book so much more than the cheesetastic one showing the characters looking moody...]
I'm a BIG fan of the audiobook and, as such, I'm a member of audible.co.uk. Every month I get a credit to use on an audiobook of my choosing. This month, a lovely librarian friend of mine (@asamum on Twitter, or you can see her website at www.asamumbooktopia.com - follow her!) recommended I try Personal Demons, by Lisa DesRochers. Being a trusting soul I promptly spent my credit on the title and set about listening. This review will talk both about the text itself and the Audible Productions recording. As I listened to the book, I apologise for any misspellings in the names that might appear.
The book is divided into two distinct narrative voices, those of Luc and Frannie. Michael Nathanson narrated Luc's narratives and Sara Barnett voiced Frannie's. At first I thought they had cast too young a voice for Frannie, but Barnett's expression and emotional clarity quickly won me over. She made DesRochers' writing take on an extra dimension. Michael Nathanson's narration was actually kind of swoon-worthy. I think I could listen to that guy read the phonebook and I'd be quite content. So it was extra swoon-worthy as he had such a vivid character and voice to portray.
Luc is a demon and his job is to tag Frannie's soul for Hell. He has lived for thousands of years and was born in Hell itself. He is not a good guy. However, when Luc meets Frannie, something about her changes him and eventually he has to choose between being damned to torture in the Lake of Fire for all of eternity, or walking away from Frannie and letting her seek comfort in the arms (not to mention wings) of her angel protector, Gabe.
(As a quick "aside", The only thing I actually didn't like about this book was the naming of some of the characters. Lucifer "Luc" Cain is the demon, Gabriel is the angel, and Mary Frances, a.k.a Frannie, is the human whose soul hangs in the balance. I thought the names were just a bit too pointed...Actually, I thought they were about as subtle as being slapped in the face with an anvil!)
So, Luc or Gabe? It seems like an easy choice, right? Both want her, both end up loving her, but whereas Luc needs to damn Frannie to Hell, Gabe can offer her Heaven. It should be easy, but DesRochers works the narrative so that you can't help but want all the wrong things for Frannie, even though the result of her choosing Luc seems like a damnable mistake.
I found myself completely enthralled in Frannie's confusion and, as a reader, I didn't know what I wanted for her! The two male leads, Gabe and Luc left me feeling off balance and I therefore empathised with our heroine. That's not to say that she didn't piss me off royally at times! Okay, she has an angel and demon manipulating her feelings and overwhelming her raging teenage hormones, but still... keep it in your pants, girl! She seemed a little flakey at times and I just wished she'd make a decision and stop basking in the attention. Then again, if I had the likes of Luc and Gabe lusting after me (though I suppose only Luc is capable of lust...it being a sin and all), I'm not sure I'd want to cut either of them loose either.
The sequel to Personal Demons is called Original Sin and it will be out this year. I'm both thrilled and dismayed by this. I'm thrilled because I adored the first book and loved the characters. I'm dismayed because I'm not sure I can take any more bumps in the road for Frannie! I felt so torn reading this book that I now feel I need to read something easier on the soul! Pun intended.