Book Review: Meljean Brook’s Guardian Demon

Posted December 3, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

Guardian Demon (The Guardians, #8)Guardian Demon by Meljean Brook
Series: Guardians, 8 & last
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Eighth and, wahhh, last in the Guardians paranormal romance series revolving around a small group of Guardian “angels” protecting humanity against demons and rogue vampires. The couple focus is on Michael, the Doyen, and Andromeda Taylor.

My Take
Wow. It’s hard to believe that it’s only been eight books in this series considering the impact the stories have had on me. So much has happened to such a range of people: Guardians, vampires, demons, you name it. Each of the individual installments are so complete in themselves with such different couples, and yet each has a tie to a central theme and a central cast of characters. Each has had their individual problems and troubles, their own histories, literally, and yet it all comes back to the same loving “family”.

It’s a series that has gone on my buy list. And I want to start re-reading this series from the beginning with “Falling for Anthony“. It’s a short story prequel that I didn’t like, but it is the start of this series. It was Demon Angel, the first full-length story that left me thinking: WOW! I think part of my need to reread is that I can’t let these characters go…

Brook has definitely put a twist on the whole demons-angels-vampires genre with this mélange of good and evil. It’s a bit like life, filled with unfairness with bad things happening to good people and average ones. Only, it’s what Brook does with these people, the situations into which she throws them, and how they rise above them. Except, in Brook’s world, there’s magic combined with family and love.

This particular installment, Guardian Demon, found me unsettled as I read it. It was a slow start and all the horrible things that Brook kept throwing at the characters found me lagging even more. I was not liking this story. However, I suspect it was a combination of my knowing this is the last in the series—which I really, really hate—and my worries over how Brook would end it as well as the problems she kept throwing at Michael and Taylor. Yup, I cried in a number of places…I hate it, even though it makes it a better story in my mind. Masochist much??

It’s a love story, well, it’s a paranormal romance, so naturally. But it’s the oddest love story I’ve read in some time with a woman who hates and a man who will do anything to make Andromeda happy (I absolutely adore Michael’s way of thinking), even if she must die for that to happen. Talk about strength of mind…! He loves her so much that Brook uses his love to set up his death. Sneaky. And Brook carefully includes hints galore about how Michael can be saved. It’s up to us to realize how even as Taylor slowly comes to realize the truth. Phew…it’s intense and nervewracking.

Part of what I love about Michael’s pursuit of Taylor is how real Brook kept it. Sure, some of it was a bit far out there, and Brook used some clichéd tropes, but they carried a ring of truth with them. I understood why each felt as they did even if I didn’t agree with all their reasons. I do love it when an author doesn’t make me gag at the stupidity or obviousness…!

I don’t understand the point Lilith is making about Michael and colors, although I did appreciate her explanation for why Michael remembered what he did notice. I did enjoy the stories about Michael’s past, his reasons for learning how to heal.

I also love how Brook pulls in those metaphysical questions about one’s appearance, how you would know someone no matter what or how they looked; to accept the truth about a person and not to cling to one’s idea of the person; the importance of pain and hardship; the song of the individual; the goodness of humanity; the importance of truth when you love someone; being woman enough, LOL, to allow someone to rescue you; and, the point of our existence on Earth. Dang, no wonder Brook needed over 500 pages for this!

It’s everyone we’ve read of through the series, all come together to help beat back the invasion of Earth, to protect it and humanity from becoming Hell on Earth. In some ways, I wish I had re-read everyone’s stories so they’d be fresher in my mind, but ya never do know if that’s what you’ll feel the need for until you do read it. Too late then… It’s certainly a good excuse to buy the series, *grin*

I am harboring a tiny bit of hope, based on how the story ended, that perhaps Brook will return with a series that continues from this point. There’s still such a lot to clean up…

The Story
It’s a rescue from Hell in so many ways, but a rescue that has reverberations, for Michael is dying, slowly, and Taylor is in a coma, again. Such anger towards so many: Taylor with Khavi and Michael, Michael against Khavi, and Lucifer’s is the worst for all the plotting and planning he does on how best to twist the knife and hurt those who love and protect.

It’s a clever, too clever, ruse on Lucifer’s part that sets events in motion in Guardian Demon. A tightly oiled plan of kidnappings, torture, and portals that is much too successful.

But love is persistent and Michael will do everything he can to protect the one he loves.

The Characters
Detective Andromeda “Andy” Taylor died and was reborn with a kiss in Demon Forged, 5. Detective Joe Preston was Andy’s partner with the SFPD, and now he works for Special Investigations (SI). Carolyn Taylor is her mom, and what an amazing woman she is! She talks about Taylor lying in her bed in a coma for two-and-a-half years and says caring for her was easy, she just had to dust her off now and then, LOL. Jason is Taylor’s brother, in a coma from which he will never recover. Captain Jorgenson is Andy and Joe’s old, pain-in-the-butt boss.

Michael is the Doyen, the 8,000-year-old first leader of the Guardians, the being who decides who becomes a Guardian and who must Fall. He’s also half-grigori demon and half-human with the heart of a dragon, connected to Chaos (see Demon Bound, 4).

Other Guardians include:
Khavi is another grigori who foresees the future, a Guardian, and Zakril’s sister. She has plans within plans—never trust her. Special Agent-in-Charge Bradshaw is based in San Francisco and is an undercover Guardian, Luther. Lilith heads up SI and was a halfling demon, a daughter of Lucifer, who chose to become human and is now married to Hugh Castleford, a former Guardian who Fell a second time for Lilith; he has kept his Gift to see lies. Sir Pup is her hellhound pet. (Busy, huh? For details, read Demon Angel, 1.)

Rosalia, a nun when she was alive, is a Guardian with a Gift for Shadows and partnered with Deacon, a reformed vampire (Demon Blood, 6); Pim is a healer; Drifter, a.k.a., Ethan, whose Gift is the ability to open steel or magnetic locks, is based in Seattle where he’s mated to Charlie, a vampire (Demon Night, 3); Jake Hawkins has Gifts for teleportation and electricity while Alice can control spiders (Demon Bound, 4); Selah is strong in teleportation, and she’s with Lucas, another vampire (“Paradise“, 1.5); Radha can disorient her target with illusions and pierce the strongest psychic shields and is partnered with Mariko, who manipulates glass (“Ascension“, 7.5) as Irena does metal who is hooked up with Alejandro whose Gift is fire, see Demon Forged, 5); Nicholas, his Gift is knowing what others fear, and Ash, a half-demon (see Demon Marked, 7), have been creating a financial cushion for the Guardians against the day the government disavows them. Jack Harrington and Annie Gallagher are vampires (see “Thicker Than Blood“, 3.5). Savi and Colin are vampires linked by blood to the Chaos Realm (Demon Moon, 2 )—she’s Hugh’s little sister, a computer genius who can also turn into a hellhound while he’s too beautiful for words and one of two daywalking vampires, nosferatu-born, and Lilith’s closest friend. Powerful. Maggie Wren (Demon Forged, 5) is a human who acts as butler for Savi and Colin; she lives with Gregory Blake, a blind man with his own supernatural abilities who is Colin’s great-great-great-something nephew descended from Colin’s twin sister, Emily, (“Blind Spot“, 5.5; Katherine Blake, Geoff’s sister, was also in this short story). Icarus can make the earth shake. Rebecca is one of the novice Guardians.

Mark Brandt is the son of Senator Bill Brandt, a shell for the demon Rael (Demon Night, 3), and he works for Senator Blackwell. Camille is the vampire who leads the Parisian vampire community; she is like a daughter to Rosalia. Angie and Cora lead the Seattle community.

Anaria is a grigori: half-demon, half human, Michael’s sister, and determined to avenge the murder of her children, the nephilim; we first encounter her in Demon Bound, 4. She intends to take the throne in Hell and eliminate free will. Her Gift is one of voice. She can make you want to die for her, and she intends to force humans to choose to be kind.

Lucifer is the demon who reigns in Hell. Cerberus is his pet Hellhound. As a result of the grigori experiment, Belial is leading a rebellion against Lucifer, intending to take demons back into Grace. He’s also Michael and Anaria’s father. Fazeal is one of Lucifer’s demons on Earth; worse are the sentinels, loyal only to Lucifer who will sacrifice themselves rather than give in. Adam and Dina Meer are vampires seduced by demons. Jason Webber had married Crystal O’Dell, both victims with a wish for revenge. Patricia Johnson, Dennis Parkins, Benjamin Nguyen, and Jeffrey Green had lost loved ones and were susceptible.

Sammael is a demon from Demon Night, 3, who must provide Charlie with a pint of blood every day; he’s married to Jane, Charlie’s sister.

Chaos is a realm of creation and destructions, dragons and their endless hunger. Special Investigations is a paranormal, super-secret law enforcement arm of Homeland Security made up of vampires, Guardians, humans, and demons who investigate supernatural crimes. Caelum is the otherworld home of the Guardians.

The Cover
The cover is peachs and browns with a fiery background and Michael, his dark wings spread wide, gazes upon Taylor amongst the flames, his sword held aloft while Taylor lunges forward, eyes closed, long red hair streaming behind her and tangling with her white wings. It is a shame that Michael wasn’t portrayed on the cover as he’s described in the book.

The title is a reflection of who Michael truly is, a Guardian Demon upon whom so much depends.