Title: Seduced by Shadows
Author: Jessa Slade
Copyright: 2009 (Signet); 378 pgs.
Series: Marked Souls #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Ferris Archer is a talyan — a human man who was possessed by a repentant demon, called teshuva. Demons are fallen angels and the teshuva are those who “seen the error of their ways” (so to speak). They possess humans — mostly men — who’s souls are already a bit tarnished or have a weakness that can be exploited. The path to redemption for both the teshuva and the human is to die in battle against non-repentant demons. Since demonic possession confers rapid healing and incredible strength and reflexes, dying in battle can take some doing. A talyan can live a very long time if he has a strong teshuva.
The talyans primarily face off against the lesser demons. However, the counterparts to the teshuva are the djinn — the fallen who are happy to remain so. Djinni are hard to kill, so the talyans try to eliminate newly-possessed djinn-men before the demon can fully ascend (full possession). There are angel-possessed humans, but they stay out of the fight. Hosting a heavenly agent doesn’t grant the individual the same dubious advantages the demon-possessed have — but then again, their souls aren’t in jeopardy either and they can have a somewhat normal life.
The talyans band together in the major cities and those groups are called leagues. Archer nominally belongs to the Chicago league, but he’s a loner, so he rarely hunts with his fellows. However, he got a vision of an impending possession and tracks the demon to its intended target. It leads him to Sera Littlejohn. Because of the vision, Archer is responsible for either training her, or killing her if it turned out that her demon is djinn. He’s not happy about any of it, of course.
As Sera is adjusting her new life — and still trying to hold on to parts of her old one — things start happening that point to her being targeted specifically. The lesser demons are behaving oddly and even the leagues headquarters comes under attack. It seems that Sera’s possession was engineered by someone who was trying to breach the veil that separate the demon realm from the human one.
Comments: This book has been in my TBR pile since it was released. The blurb caught my attention and I’m happy to say that I did find the world the author created an interesting one.
I don’t think I ever read a book where one of the characters is a thanatologist — a person who helps the dying and the terminally ill during their final days. That’s what Sera was before the car accident. She’s a resilient, compassionate person. She seems like the sort of person who should have been angel-possessed. Instead, she becomes the first female to be demon-possessed in a very long time — as far as league records can determine anyway. Nobody knows why the teshuva stopped possessing females.
As for Archer, he’s tired of existence. He’s been around for some time and he’s lost all hope. The battle against the demons is unending and, ultimately, un-winnable as long as there are humans and free will. Everything that has mattered to him was lost a long time ago and he doesn’t want to form any new attachments because he’ll only loses those, too. Sera makes him feel again.
There were times when I felt I was missing something. I thought the author did a good job of trying to avoid information dumps, but occasionally I thought she was being too vague. I thought the story moved at a good pace.
The next two books look like they follow the same pattern, but with the recently released 4th book, it looks like the author shook things up some. I was planning on continuing anyway, but this last fact was an extra incentive.
(Cross-posted from Goodreads.com)
Start: 25 February 2012
Finished: 29 February 2012