**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Series: Imnada Brotherhood #1
Published by Pocket Books on December 26, 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance
AMAZON • B&N • BOOK DEPOSITORY • Goodreads
A fast-paced and captivating debut—the first in the dark and sexyImnada Brotherhood series about shape shifters in Regency-era England.
A rising star on the Covent Garden stage, Bianca Parrino believes she has everything she wants. Independence. Wealth. And a life finally free of her violent, abusive husband. But when her close friend, Adam, is murdered, and Bianca is suspected in his death, she is unwittingly drawn into the search for his killer, and soon must question everything she believes—about her friend, about herself, and about a world she never knew existed.
A member of the mysterious race of shape-shifting Imnada and part of an elite military unit, Captain Mac Flannery gathered intelligence during the Napoleonic wars. As a result of a savage massacre, Mac and the men he served with are cursed. Now one of them has been found murdered, and Mac suspects the existence of the Imnada has been discovered at last. His only link to unearthing the truth is the beautiful actress who turns up unexpectedly at Adam’s funeral.
Before long, Mac has more to contend with than Bianca’s overt mistrust, his ill-fated attraction to the haughty and beautiful actress, and his ongoing search for an end to the curse. Because Adam’s killer is back, and Mac is next on his list.
I recently read Alexa Egan’s prequel novella, Awaken the Curse, and had a kind of apathetic take – loved the world, didn’t love the romance or the characters. When it came to Demon’s Curse, the first full-length novel in Egan’s Imnada Brotherhood series, I was hoping to come out of it with a more positive take, mainly because I find the premise so fascinating. For the most part, while I enjoyed Demon’s Curse, I have to admit that I wasn’t engrossed by it.
For me, the strength of this series is its world. Egan has created something that seems very original. A period setting in which there are Others, half-human and half Fey, and the Imnada, a race of disgraced and hunted shapeshifters. And, of course, humans, who are wholly ignorant that the other two non-human groups exist. The fey bloods hate the Imnada and vice versa. The Others blame the Imnada for the murder of King Arthur (yup, that one) who held the world in balance under a golden rule. With that treachery, the Others hunted down and tried to eliminate the Imnada. The Imnada who survived now remain hidden behind the magic of their strongholds and kill anyone who learns of their existence. The basis of this world creates a fantastic, tunnel vision kind of tension between the groups, the root of which seems to be contested, as history usually is, and it’s this conflict that’s my favorite part of the book. I also loved the concept of the Imnada, their customs and unforgiving culture. Some of this was so complex that the details got fuzzy but overall, I found myself more interested in the history, the various interests at stake, and the politics of it all more than I did in the central conflict of this particular story – Mac and Bianca.
Mac, Imnada, and Bianca, human, are the central characters in Demon’s Curse. They are both tied to finding the murderer of their mutual friend and, eventually, an end to Mac’s curse. I liked their chemistry, there were nice moments of repartee that made me smile, and there were passionate moments of attraction and romance that were moving. I think where I disconnected with them is both in the pace of the relationship and in what I saw as false conflict. Mac made his move on Bianca fairly quickly for someone who, ultimately, can’t be with her. He wants to go home to his clan but he can’t go home with a human. I would have rather delayed some of the declarations and played out the attraction a bit more — so close, yet so far — rather than have Mac succumb so quickly and then spend an inordinate amount of time questioning it all. He so patently loved her that the decision was made long before he finally reached it. So enough with the indecision already! Conversely, Bianca’s hesitation was really well-done. I bought her hesitation and mistrust completely and wanted to kick Mac in the gonads for his own false hesitations.
Finally, what happened to the “Brotherhood” part of the “Imnada Brotherhood”? I expected Mac to get more help from his friends, David and Gray. He found himself in life threatening situations, with a killer who would eventually target them all…Help a brother out, people! Mac and Bianca were left to their own devices with most of their assistance coming from Jory Wallace, a great character and an Imnada himself.
Towards the end you learn of rebel groups and pacifist coalitions, all aimed at making big moves in altering the course of history between fey-blood and Imanda. I want to know more about that. I found the push to change old attitudes, enemies turning to allies, and the fluid concept of what home is to be far more intriguing elements of this story. Demon’s Curse was interesting in its premise and its world but was a little lukewarm in its romance and characterizations. I will hold onto hope that the next one works on all levels. 3 Howls!