Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Morgan Kingsley Series by Jenna Black

I've decided that for this particular series I'm not going to do just one review per book. Instead, highly influenced by the fact that I read all of them again in about a week's span of time, I'm going to do a series review. I thought about trying to do an overarching series description myself, but the truth of the matter is that I'm lazy and I feel like the jacket of the first book does a better than decent job of giving readers the general idea:

Exorcism isn’t a job, it’s a calling—and a curse. Just ask Morgan Kingsley, a woman who has a stronger aura than any demon. Or so she thought. Now, in a pair of black leather pants and a kick-ass tattoo, Morgan is heading back to Philadelphia after a nasty little exorcism—and her life is about to be turned upside down…by the demon that’s gotten inside her.

Not just any demon. Six feet five inches of dark, delicious temptation, this one is to die for—that is, if he doesn’t get Morgan killed first. Because while some humans vilify demons and others idolize them, Morgan’s demon is leading a war of succession no human has ever imagined. For a woman trying to live a life, and hold on to the almost-perfect man, being possessed by a gorgeous rebel demon will mean a wild ride of uninhibited thrills, shocking surprises, and pure, unadulterated terror…

hus the 'wild ride' begins! And I think that phrase is particular apt because of all the types of personalities and lifestyle choices that Jenna Black brings into her series. A prime example of Urban Fantasy, the books are set in a contemporary world that is familiar to all of us, but that has its own tweaks - most shockingly the fact that demons possess people regularly on a volunteer basis, and exorcists are about the only people capable of dealing with illegals who have all the strength of their demons but none of the willingness to conform with society's views on morality. I think it's also a little different for readers to read a book whose heroine has powers but is not omnipotent or gaining more every half second. Yes, you find out that she's slightly different than the average human due to some genetic tampering, but in general what you see is what you get - a somewhat average woman who's trying to deal with fantastical circumstances. She get's hit, she falls down, she has emotional breaks - there's no perfect level of power for her, nothing that let's her defeat all the bad guys.

And then of course there are the demons - possessing humans and becoming some of the best 'humanity' has to offer
. Because of course, endowed with demon strength, they can become the most effective firemen, policemen, etc. that the world has ever seen. The flip side to that is the secret 'perversions' that some of them develop, for having been deprived of physical sensation for centuries some of them become addicted the dichotomy of pain and pleasure. It's an interesting take on the genre - amorphous energy when not possessing anyone, demon's are often drawn to the extremes of feeling experienced by the S&M crowd - with pretty much no preference between men and women.

I guess I would have to say that in general, what surprised me the most, was how forgettable I originally found the series. Only with the release of the latest book was I reminded of these - and even then I couldn't remember enough to read the newest one without going back first. And now of course I can't think of why I didn't like the series more. I enjoyed it quite a bit the second time around and I'm really excited about the next one (of course I have to wait until March 2010).

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. An interesting take on a well loved genre, I definitely recommend them all.

- 1)
The Devil Inside 2) The Devil You Know 3) The Devil's Due 4) Speak of the Devil