Last Rite (Personal Demons Novels)
Teen novels aren’t all vampires these days. There are some books that take a different approach to the issues of good and evil. Lisa Desrochers began exploring these ideals using angels and devils in her Personal Demons trilogy, featuring a girl whose will can alter those around her. Unfortunately, what started as an interesting story ends up not satisfying quite as much as could be wished.
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“With the help of the powerful angel Gabe and demon-turned-mortal Luc, Frannie has been able to stay one step ahead of the forces of Hell. But when the demons killed Frannie’s best friend and destroyed her brother, they raised the stakes. If Frannie wants to keep her family and friends safe, she knows she has no choice but to go on the run.
Their best defense is the power Frannie has been struggling to master, but her attempts to hone her skill go horribly awry. If Frannie doesn’t learn fast, the consequences could be devastating—even apocalyptic.
What happens when you can’t outrun Hell…or trust the ones you love?”
I think that my main issue with this book is that it’s a novel of missed opportunities. The biggest one is the dropped storyline revolving around Frannie’s brother Matt. In the second book, he’s a major figure and seems headed towards a huge confrontation with Frannie in this novel; however, this never happens. In fact, not only does it not happen, but Matt is almost completely absent from this book. His fall from grace, which was such a large part of the plot, doesn’t turn into anything in this final novel.
There’s also a lot of page space wasted on Frannie, Luc and Gabriel hiding out in a beach house. During this time, Frannie is having disturbing dreams, which do turn out to be integral to the plot, but which could have been pared down somewhat. Gabriel and Luc take turns verbally sniping at each other until it turns into a kind of cliché.
However, there are some parts of this novel that I liked. I did like the revelations about Frannie’s family. There have been hints that her sisters may have some powers of their own, and that is revealed in the second half of the book. I really liked the fact that part of Frannie’s story even involved her family and wasn’t just her running around with otherworldly creatures using her Sway on them. I guess what it boils down to is that I liked the opportunity to see Frannie as a person, not just the object of obsession for two guys, and not just a vessel for this magical power.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the novel’s resolution. It’s not often that I’ll admit this, but I simply can’t put a finger on it, and I’m not sure why. I think it has something to do with Frannie’s Sway and how she uses it at the end to finally bring the novel to its climax. It just doesn’t sit right with me, and I wish I could put the “why” of it into words. I’ve even delayed writing this review due to that uncertainty. Because of this, I won’t make any judgment calls on whether or not the ending actually works in the context of the story. If I can’t nail down my own opinion, there’s no way I’m going to be giving one to you.
While this novel—and this series—certainly have a lot going for it, there were some missteps in the worldbuilding that made it difficult for me to completely suspend disbelief. However, there are some characters and some moments that I really enjoyed, so perhaps this book comes down to a matter of personal taste. Last Rite wasn’t quite what I wanted out of the conclusion of the Personal Demons series, but it does have a lot to praise and my own difficulties with it may not be yours.
This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on September 9, 2012.