A Free Dreamer Review: The Demon You Know by Barbara Elsborg

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

the Demon You know coverA good demon?

Ezra is a timekeeper in Hell, responsible for building and maintaining the clocks that tick away eternal torment. He’s never believed he deserves to be in Hell, and when the reason he’s there is revealed, he’s horrified…yet filled with hope. But is this just another form of torture? When Ezra’s given a chance to go to the surface, he’s determined to uncover the truth, but his fellow demons seem just as determined he won’t survive the journey.

A bad angel?

Roman doesn’t understand why an angel who failed his training the first time round has been given the job of policing paranormals in the UK’s capital city. He’s consumed by unhappiness. He might not be in Hell, but sometimes it damn well feels like it.

When Roman meets Ezra his failings come back to haunt him. Ezra makes him want to break the rules, but an angel protecting a demon? Discovery would bring an eternity of suffering, and with a boss none other than the archangel Michael, it’ll take more than a miracle for the lovers to stand together.

Let me start off by saying that while this is part 3 of a series, it works perfectly fine as a stand alone. I didn’t even read the blurbs of the two other books before starting this one and I had absolutely no trouble understanding what’s going on.

You should also be aware that this is a pretty dark book. There’s rape, there’s dub-con, there’s violence and there’s depression and potentially suicidal thoughts. If that’s not your kind of thing, back away slowly.

So, there’s Ezra, sweet, gentle, good Ezra. He lives in Hell but has no idea why. Usually you have to be at least 16 before you’re sent to Hell. But not Ezra, who was apparently born in Hell. He works as a timekeeper, making sure the countless clocks that are part of the eternal torment of the demons are in working order. He’s different from the other demon. For one, he’s far smaller than even the females and he looks unusually normal. That makes him a prime victim to the other demons, who delight in making his life miserable. He was also chosen as one of a handful of demons to go to the surface and corrupt humans for a week. But Ezra has other plans: He wants to run, to hide, to never go back down to Hell again. He wants to see snow, see clouds and for once in his life to experience what it means to be cold.

Then there’s Roman, the jaded head of supernatural London, who makes sure the other supernatural beings (vampires, werewolves, faeries, gargoyles) stick to the rules and remain undiscovered. He’s an angel, but not a very good one. Angels are supposed to be free of sin, yet he always lusts after other men. He’s very unhappy with his life. Maybe not exactly suicidal, but definitely close. He doesn’t care too much about whether he’s dead or alive one way or another.

Of course Roman is part of the team that has to catch the demons before they can do any serious harm. When Ezra and Roman meet, it’s lust at first sight. But why can’t Roman sense Ezra’s a demon? And how can an angel and a demon ever have a HEA?

For the most part, I enjoyed this book.

I liked both Roman and Ezra from the beginning. They were nice guys. Though in Ezra’s case, I’d have to say he was too nice. He was so very sweet and kind, even though he’s only ever known sorrow and pain. He’s been raped countless times, yet he’s all too happy to have a sexual relationship with Roman. The past abuse seems to have no effect on him whatsoever, except that he’s kind of sad and occasionally flinches back when Roman makes a sudden move. That’s something I definitely don’t like. If you’re going to include traumatizing events such as rape and abuse, make sure your character actually is traumatized. Rape doesn’t make you go all sweet and submissive and happy to be of help to strangers. Though I did like the way he acted otherwise, he was funny and witty and had an interesting story to tell.

Roman is jaded through and through. He’s hurt, he’s lonely and he hates his life. It’s a little hard to understand just why he is so miserable in the beginning, but I promise there is an explanation eventually. I thought he was far more realistic that Ezra.

Since the two of them fall in instant lust, there’s plenty of sex. Almost too much, really, even if it is very hot. A little less sex and a little more world and character building would definitely have helped me really like this story though.

I’m generally none too fond of insta-love/lust and “The Demon You Know” was no exception. I get that they found each other attractive from the very beginning, so I understand all the sex they had, even at the most inappropriate moments. What I had a hard time understanding though was what made them fall in love with each other. It’s understandable that Ezra falls for the first person to have ever treated him kindly. But I have absolutely no idea what made Roman return those feelings. They barely knew each other. They only spent a few hours together, really. And why would Roman risk everything for a demon, when he knows it will only be trouble and that Ezra must have done something truly awful to be sent to hell?

Usually, I avoid books about angels, simply because there tends to be a strong element of religion and belief present most of the time. Being an atheist, this tends to bore or annoy me easily. “The Demon You Know” had very little religion and belief for the most part. Sure, there was a bit of talk about God and the devil, and about the Seven Deadly Sins, but for the most part, it just focused on the two MCs. I liked that.

To sum it up, “The Demon You Know” is a quick, hot read, without a lot of depth. With more depth, this could have easily been a truly great story. As it is, I had fun and I finished it within two days. If you don’t mind the darkness of this and are willing to suspend your disbelief for a bit, you’ll most likely enjoy this too.

And I’ll definitely take a look at the previous book, Bloodline, which is about two of the minor characters in this book.

Fiona Jade’s cover is just wow. Breathtakingly beautiful. I think it matches the story well, you can see Roman’s anguish and the flames from hell licking at the bottom of the cover and his wings show Ezra’s influence. The background shows various famous sights in London, so it does not only reflect the protagonists but also the setting. It’s one of the most beautiful covers out there, one that I’d love to have in my physical bookshelf.

Sales: Loose Id LLC  |  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 233 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Loose Id LLC (first published April 27th 2015)

One thought on “A Free Dreamer Review: The Demon You Know by Barbara Elsborg

  1. Thanks for the heads-up about the rape/dub-con scenes… I hadn’t seen that mentioned before, so now I think I’m going to take this book off my TBR. I’ve enjoyed other books by this author, but it sounds like this one should be a miss for me. Great review!!

    Like

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