Sunday, February 22, 2009

REVIEW: Demons of the Past: Book One of the Damewood Trilogy by Erin Durante

My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

I had the hardest time writing this review. I'm not sure why exactly. Perhaps because this story is so multi-faceted, and every time I thought I'd finished, I'd proofread and find that I completely left out something else I'd wanted to mention. In this regard, it reminds me a little of the review I wrote for Witch Ember below which was also quite long for that same reason. Though Demons of the Past was only about half as long as Witch Ember, I felt the same way in that there were so many layers to the story, I could just ramble on in so many different directions without even realizing it. LOL :)

So with that disclaimer out of the way, here we go....

Modern Civilization has disintegrated and the technological advances of mankind have been suppressed for centuries. Society has regressed to a medieval state, and an ancient ocarina imbued with faery magic is the only thing standing between a civilized society and one overrun with demons. Unfortunately, the secret of society's past is known only to a select few, most of them belonging to a group of radicals known as the Ordi who would very much like to see society brought back to it's technologically enhanced roots, no matter what the consequences.

Damewood is just one of the many kingdoms in the area currently under siege, presumably by the Ordi or another group with a similar agenda. The "bandits" have stolen the magical ocarina, which has been protecting the lands, from the nearby Pearl Isles Kingdom where it was under guard. If it cannot be recovered, and it's magic renewed, then all the demons which have been held in check for the last 400 years may suddenly be unleashed upon the world!

Nadia, the eldest princess of Damewood, has been sent into hiding while her lands are under attack. But being the skilled demon fighter she is, she knows that she'd rather be on the front lines fighting for her kingdom and her people, instead of being tucked safely away doing nothing. Disguising herself as a Knight in full armor, she joins the group of men from the nearby kingdoms on a rescue mission to recover the magical ocarina. But Nadia's got more than one secret to keep. For no one else knows that the big, black, beautiful stallion with the strange, light eyes that she's had since she was a young girl is actually a demon himself! A Kelpie to be exact, who can shapeshift between man and horse. But no matter what Vestro knows (or doesn't know), Nadia's convinced he's not like the other demons. And keeping both of their identities a secret on this mission is going to be as challenging as the road to Ferrington Pass.

This was a fascinating and spell-binding debut novel from new author Erin Durante which I found difficult to put down. I was actually a wee bit disappointed at the end since there wasn't yet a sequel I could pick up immediately and start reading. Though the author has a few short stories to her credit, this is actually her first full length novel, though you'd not know it since she writes with such a seasoned pen.

The pacing of the story was just right, neither rushing along nor dragging things out. I often found time slipping away while reading as I was totally immersed in the world that is Damewood. The lush and vivid descriptions transported me right into the middle of the action and I didn't want to leave.

Though all of the story's major plot lines got wrapped up by the end of the book, things truly come around full circle. And by the time you get to the epilogue, you've got a new twist to look forward to in the sequel. I don't want to give too much away, but suffice to say, the author knew exactly how much to let out, and when to pull back in the telling of this story. And at the end, I was left with my tongue hanging out, panting for more! LOL

For more information on Erin Durante and the world of Damewood, visit the website: Enter Damewood.

BookCrossing journal page for this book


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Yep, Red Room's something new(ish). I'm still feeling it out, but so far, I'd give it good marks. It's sure got a lot of potential.

Erin Durante said...

Hey, thanks so much! I'm glad you liked it. Hope you think the next one is just as entertaining!