Saturday, June 26, 2021

REVIEW: Daemon's Angel (book) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Daemon's Angel is a historical fantasy romance originally published in 1995. I bought my copy used.


Arina is an angel responsible for greeting mortals upon their death and sending them on their way. After Raida's son dies, Raida becomes determined to damn Arina, the angel she feels took him away before his time. The old woman makes a deal with Belial, a demon, that curses Arina into a form that's nearly human. The curse will be complete when Arina falls in love with Daemon, a hardened warrior with mismatched eyes, and watches him die.

Initially, Arina has amnesia and can't recall her existence as an angel. As she realizes the truth about her "brother" Belial and the curse, however, she becomes determined to somehow save Daemon's life, even if it means allowing him to think that he's been abandoned and rejected once again.

I bought this back when I was really into Sherrilyn Kenyon's books, but I put off reading it because, while I like fantasy romances, I'm completely disinterested in angels. Now that I've read was terrible. I don't know whether it was the book itself, the angel/demon aspect, or my changed reading tastes, but I won't feel a twinge when this leaves my collection.

I could recognize certain features I recalled from Kenyon's historicals: the over-the-top tormented and rejected hero who had never known love and acceptance of any sort; the loving, beautiful, and otherwise unmemorable heroine (I recall Kenyon's contemporary romance heroines being better in this regard); and the one character who seemed to be set up as sequel bait (in this case Belial, who spent most of the book as a villain and then morphed into a potential tortured future hero for a work that I don't think was ever written).

Like I said, I'm not a fan of angels, but this could still have won me over if I'd enjoyed the romance. Unfortunately, Arina and Daemon's relationship turned out to be very one-note. In an effort to get them to have sex and thereby strip Arina of her angelic powers, Belial cursed Daemon and Arina to lust after each other, which they did from the moment they met. The main reason it took ages for them to finally have sex was because Daemon thought himself to be disfigured and unworthy of Arina.

I spent a third of this book wondering what Daemon's supposed disfigurement was, before I finally realized that it was his mismatched eyes. It was silly and felt like a cop-out on Kenyon's part. Yes, let's make the hero "disfigured" by giving him physical features that readers will likely consider attractive. 

At any rate, Daemon grew up being told that his supposed disfigurement was a sign that he was Lucifer's son. If I remember right, he was abandoned at a church and then physically abused by the people there. Although his skills as a warrior later commanded respect, the people around him simultaneously whispered about how cursed and evil he was. The one time a young woman kissed him, her father beat her for it, leaving Daemon with a lifelong fear that anyone who was kind to him might suffer. It was a bit much.

Although readers were told that Daemon and Arina fell in love, their relationship was more lust than romance. I don't recall any truly touching or sweet moments, and Daemon's bitterness when Arina eventually seemed to reject him was utterly predictable.

There was a cute cross-eyed kitten, but it felt out of place. Would a supposedly hardened warrior who didn't plan to settle down really adopt a pet? Anyway, at 375 pages, this outstayed its welcome. There was so little variation in Daemon and Arina's emotional journey that the story could have been told in half that time and probably would have been the better for it.

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