Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Review: Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

SUMMARY (From Amazon):

If you had to choose between Heaven and Hell, which would it be?

Are you sure about that...?

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance--even her closest friends--and it seems her senior year will 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 works in Acquisitions--for Hell--and she possesses a unique skill set that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he's as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn't stand a chance.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn't get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul.

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


Immersing and endearing, Personal Demons is a striking take on the battle for human souls. With an endearing cast of characters, an ingenious story line, and dual perspective, this one grabs pretty early on with enough continued interest and mystery to keep the reader guessing.

Frannie is the black sheep of her family, raised Catholic but kicked out of her Catholic school and struggling with her faith. A tragedy early in her life has shaped much of her future mindsets and beliefs and this is one area Desrochers carries throughout the book and uses it perfectly to build present day Frannie. The guilt and grief she continues to hold onto shows a new side of her character which is built on fluidly. Frannie is a good friend and a good student, though her world is twisted around from the moment she meets Luc. Though she's had at least one serious boyfriend, her views on love are different than most, which adds to the amusement when Luc starts showing her attention. Her character grows and develops in fantastic ways, making her a strong character despite her flaws which are splashed across the pages are strongly as the great things.

Luc is truly a creature of pride, borne of it and made of it. His mindset is vastly different from Frannie's and this comes through strongly in the sections from his perspective. He isn't simply a cocky, arrogant jerk to be one. He isn't hiding things (apart from being a demon...) or staying closed off emotionally. He simply... is. He sees things as a Pride borne demon and Desrochers does a fantastic job setting that apart from the typical arrogant male character. Luc is admittedly sexy and alluring, knowing the right things to say and the moves to make. As the plot progresses, Luc's character goes through tremendous growth, development and change, rendering him a truly enjoyable character.

Taylor and Riley, Frannie's two closest friends, provide plenty of comedic relief and entertainment. Their clear lusting for both Luc and Gabe are understandable and amusing, particularly when Frannie wants both boys as well. Their quips and small debates add a soft element to the book and also help build Frannie's character. Gabe is endearing, an obviously sexy angel that is bound by his own rules and laws. His small word and staring battles against Luc are laughable and not only keep the Heaven vs. Hell debate in light, but also simply the desires of both boys to not only tag Frannie's soul but maybe win her for themselves.

The book shifts between Frannie and Luc's perspectives, giving the reader fantastic insight into both. Getting the demon's perspective, rather than the angel's, was refreshing and new and also made Luc a sympathetic and enjoyable character. Because his mindset wasn't given first hand, Gabe remained somewhat on the fringes for me, despite his large and often presence in the book. There is a clear divide between the way Frannie's mind works and how Luc's runs, and the switches between them were easy and smooth without losing development for either.

The plot is brilliant, adding an interesting perspective into the Heaven vs Hell scenario. Though it does get redundant for Frannie to switch in her thoughts between wanting Gabe and Luc, and even makes obvious efforts to go after both, things come full circle and the truth and explanations smooth things over. Desrochers does a fantastic job keeping things cloaked until the perfect reveal, maintaining several unexpected twists that are only clear in hindsight. Frannie's confusion and lust for both boys is both a result of what the boys can do and her own teenage lust, and watching her muddle through also adds another great element to the plot. By the close of this first installment in a trilogy, this plot is primarily tied up with only a few lingering questions to carry over.

Not only does Desrochers introduce Gabe and Luc, she also brings in other angels and demons to keep things interesting and balanced. With strong writing, two great view points, a striking plot, and great, enjoyable characters, Personal Demons is a fantastic read that is a mixture of light and dark. Across the board, Personal Demons has many great elements and is a fantastic addition to the fantasy/supernatural genre as well as a must read.

Source: ARC received for review from author
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (September 14, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765328089
ISBN-13: 978-0765328083


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed Personal Demons. Thanks for the great review :p

  2. This one sounds so good! I'll definitely have to give it a go :) Great review!

  3. ADM, what a long review! But I sat in my chair and READ ALL OF IT. It was made of awesome :D

    Good thing September's not too far away, huh? ;)

  4. Squee! I got this one the other day and CANNOT wait to read it!

  5. Ah, so jealous! Great review too. There's no doubt about it; I am definitely going to have to check this one out.

  6. Even though I thought the premise of this plot was original I am afraid it did not grab me at all. I really disliked the indecision on Frannie's part and felt Gabe was a very flat character.

    I am glad you enjoyed it and I am sure others will too, for me it left me cold.

  7. Great review Kari! I cannot wait for this one to come out. I'll break my book buying ban for it. ;)