Review: Personal Demons

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Personal DemonsPersonal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Series: Personal Demons #1
Published by Tor Teen on September 14, 2010
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 365
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
Goodreads
half-star

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance---even her closest friends---and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him.

What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy---all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

This book was ludicrous on a number of levels. Perhaps most obviously obnoxious was the writing, which definitely learned from Twilight. Here is a brief selection, which will demonstrate the nature of the entire novel:

“He smiles his wicked smile and nearly stops my heart. And when he leans in to kiss me, I’m pretty sure it does.
I can’t stop my hand from reaching for his face. I feel him shiver in answer and he locks gazes with me. ‘Let’s get out of here,’ he says into my lips.
An achy tingle spreads through me and I smile a shaky smile. ‘I know just the place.'” (164)

While the writing tends to be grammatically correct (which unfortunately is not always true), it also does not show any particular special talent at crafting sentences. The first real problem is that his smile nearly stops her heart (not creative, but a fairly common phrase), but (oh noes) his kiss actually does her stop her heart. Umm, no. Am I the only one who has a problem with this? Her heart does not actually stop; this is mere ‘romantic’ exaggeration. It doesn’t stop there, what with her apparently being some sort of puppet on strings, since she ‘can’t stop’ her hand from going to his face. Again, I am not buying it. Then he speaks into her lips. Awkward and ineffective, anyone? Of course, you cannot forget the achy tingles spreading through her throughout the book. He’s hot and you want to have sex with him. We (the readers) get it, thanks. No emotion or phrase is not continually harped on, so be prepared for the repetition of these already banal teen exhibitions of love and lust. Not to mention that these phrases fail to achieve their goal, which is to make the reader believe in the love and deep connection between the two. I, for one, am not buying it.

Beyond this, I feel compelled simply to point out a few absurdities bullet-point style.

1) Frannie (actual name Mary Francis) is one of five daughters, all of whom have the first name Mary. Even for Catholics, I see this as incredibly inane.

2) Luc can smell people’s emotions. Love smells like chocolate, lust like ginger, anger like black pepper, etc. This is actually kind of a neat idea, but mostly it got on my nerves. Had it been used effectively, it would have been cool.

3) Frannie wants both the angel (Gabe, short for Gabriel) and Luc throughout almost all of the book, even though I am supposed to believe in her deep, forever love for the latter boy. Bull.

4) “He thinks I don’t know he’s following me all the time. He knows I want my life, and he’s trying so hard to let me have it. I don’t want to burst his bubble, so I don’t say anything, but, really, I like knowing he’s there” (302). Frannie on Luc in an example of the Twilightishness of this book. Being a stalker is super hot!!!

5) The book is told from the perspectives of Frannie and Luc. It’s kind of hard to play up a love triangle effectively if only one of the boys gets his point of view shown. I mean, obviously, Frannie will choose the guy we never hear from. Right…

6) Apparently all demons look the same in human form, such that Frannie cannot tell which one is lover boy and which wants to eat her soul. That’s true love.

I will wrap up with six, what with that being a number the demons would approve of (at least in triplicate). Recommended only for those who believe that Bella and Edward’s relationship is the pinnacle of true love.

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