Aphrodite's Kiss

Aphrodite's Passion

Aphrodite's Secret

Carpe Demon

The Cat's Fancy

Intimate Fantasies

The Manolo Matrix

Nobody Does it Better

Reckless

Silent Confessions

 
Turned: the Blood Lily Chronicles
by Julie Kenner
(Ace, $7.99, R for violence)  ISBN  978-0-441-01811-6
**
Turned leaps directly into what must be assumed was the last scene of the first book in the Blood Lily Chronicles.  Lily, her sister Rose, and her demon-trying-to-be-human boyfriend, Deacon are smack-dab in the middle of one of many fights for their lives with a big ugly demon, Penemue.

Penemue turns out to be one of many bad guys out to get Lily, who has been reincarnated into the body of hotstuff Alice.  Lily also happens to be one of two (or maybe three) keys to a demon portal that seems to be the only thing standing between Hell and Hell on Earth.  Which wouldn't be such a big deal, except that Lily's immortal, so if she throws herself on Hell's mercy, she has to deal with that day in and day out for eternity.  Her other option?  To use a magic demonic necklace called the Oris Clef to make herself queen of the demons.

Being part demon herself—and relying upon demons to increase her strength (she has to kill them for that)—this option appeals to Lily's bad side.  Lily's good side (if a reader can successfully find one) rejects the idea, but still holds onto the artifact in the hopes of keeping someone else from using it to the same evil purpose.

Lily's issue in Turned lies, of course, with protecting her teenage sister, Rose, who has been reincarnated into the body of someone with some demon-fighting capabilities.  This is helpful, although Lily finds it disturbing, to say the least.  Her duty, however, is to locate this mysterious third key before Armageddon strikes.  Though Lily seems pretty at-home with her immortality, her warrior abilities, the fact that her lover is/was a demon, and the additional fact that she's part demon herself, she is entirely unwilling to throw herself into Hell on a permanent basis.

Unless it's as the queen.  Lily honestly struggles with the decision about what to do to save humanity while she struggles to hold on to her own humanity—which means avoiding becoming the queen of Hell at all costs.

Deacon, who had gone full-demon to save Lily and Rose in the opening scene, later swoops to the rescue when Lily is ambushed on a bridge.  He is now fighting even harder to hold onto his human self, but becomes fully insinuated into the situation once again; Lily doesn't feel there is any choice given the time frame and the consequences of failure, plus she's in love with him.

With the help of Alice's sister (they're from a family of black magicians and run a demon-serving pub), who's gone to the side of the light, Deacon, and Rose, Lily follows what few leads she has toward this key.  It's a race against time all the way around, but will Lily find it before it's too late to save herself?  Can she hold onto the Oris Clef without giving into the temptation of becoming demonic royalty?  And, as Lily's primary concern has become, can she will herself to make the right decision when the last minute comes?

Alice's sister, Rachel, with her insights into the black arts and her off-the-wall theories on life in general and the upcoming Apocalypse specifically, offers the most interesting character in Turned.  Lily herself is fairly shallow and very repetitive; Deacon is the tortured sort one would expect out of Anne Rice or Heathcliff, if Kenner was anywhere near classic lit standards.  Even readers who enjoy the paranormal genre may find it difficult to understand Lily being Lily in someone else's body, and her sister in a similar situation, especially as the family members of said bodies don't seem to mind.  

There is a considerable amount of action in  Turned - it seems there's a fight every other page, but that will appeal to those who get tired of useless or sappy dialogue.  Overall, the novel gets a low rating because the action scenes dominate the plotline, and the characters cover the same ground over and over while rarely making progress or personal revelations.

--Sarrah Knight


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