Night Life

Pure Blood

Second Skin

Demon Bound:
a Black London Novel

by Caitlin Kittredge
(St. Martin's, 7.99, R)  ISBN 978-0-312-94363-9
Jack Winter knew trouble was coming; had been, for thirteen years.  As far as that goes, he was pretty used to getting into trouble.  He'd led a hard life even before he came to terms with the Black and became a mage.  Regardless, dealing with a demon—especially a demon with whom you made an idiot bargain for your life—usually trumps any other trouble in a person's existence.

Thirteen years before, as he lay dying on the floor of a crypt, Jack sold his soul to a demon to continue living.  Up until now, when he bothered to think about it, he didn't regret it.  However, Jack finally has something to live for—former London police detective Petunia "Pete" Caldecott.  Though Pete may be reluctant to make their relationship romantic, she's the best, perhaps the only good, thing that's happened in Jack's nearly forty years. Not only that, but Pete has just discovered that she's a Weir—a rare magical talent coveted by creatures in the Black. Jack has lived in the Black—basically, the magical underground—for most of his life; and he knows Pete's not going to survive if she's left to wander around clueless about her talent, just as he knows he may be the only being alive who won't take advantage of her or drain her dry.

If Jack dies, Pete likely won't be far behind him, and he can't have that.  So, Jack sneaks off to Thailand to do the demon's bidding and, hopefully, learn how to trick him out of the original bargain.  Only, Thailand's not exactly what Jack bargained for either.  When your magic's skewed and you can't tell when a friend's a friend, you know you've hit rock bottom - at least, if you're Jack Winter.

Demon Bound is characterized by Kittredge's almost poetic turn of phrase.  However, as with Street Magic, the first in the Black London series, Demon Bound seems to drag. Frankly, the plot gets a little too tangled up but Jack's memories and fears and feelings are so well-written and compelling, readers will find the novel primarily character-driven.

Apparently the overwritten accents are staying throughout the Black London series.  By book two, however, one becomes slightly more accustomed to them.  Jack Winter doesn't manage to grow up, and I feel that and Pete's growing knowledge of her position in the magical world are the purposes of the books; thus the lagging plotline - neither of these things occurs in Demon Bound.  In fact, there is considerably less magic usage and ghostly appearances in this novel -Kittredge sticks primarily to the demons (Hell's and Jack's) that the title suggests.

For those that liked the first novel in the series, Demon Bound will certainly impress. Anyone who didn't think Street Magic lived up to its Nocturne City counterpart, be aware that Demon Bound is pretty much exactly the same.

--Sarrah Knight

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