Original Sin (A Personal Demons Novel)
Teen supernatural fantasy has been a hot ticket ever since Twilight hit the shelves. Thankfully, most of the new stuff coming out is much better than Meyers’s series. Among the more intriguing new offerings is Lisa Desrochers’s Personal Demons series. The second book, Original Sin, ups the stakes for her characters in a big way.
Now that Frannie’s soul is tagged for Heaven and Luc has been transformed into a mortal human, things should be returning to normal. But Hell hasn’t given up on acquiring Frannie and her powerful Sway for the cause of evil. Other demons show up in Haden, hoping to force both Frannie and Luc into committing a bad enough sin to change their tag from Heaven to Hell.
Gabriel has, unfortunately, left to return to Heaven, but he’s left another guardian in his place: Matt, Frannie’s twin brother who died when they were seven years old. He was rushed through his training so that he could watch over his sister, but he may not be ready for the job. He develops a fascination with Luc’s next door neighbor, Lili, and his distraction may prove disastrous.
The internal consistency on this novel didn’t seem quite as strong as it was in the first one. The problem is mainly with the logistics of tagging a soul for Heaven or Hell. In the first novel, Luc gives some specifics: “The thing is, to tag Frannie, I need undisputable claim to her soul. Undisputable claim means more than one sin, unless that one sin is beyond big—a mortal sin. Even the seven deadly sins usually aren’t enough just once. I need at least a tendency if not a trend.”
In Original Sin, I found myself questioning that explanation. In the first book, Luc seems to think a single act (sexual intimacy) will be enough to tag Frannie for Hell, and Gabriel is afraid that one slip into intimacy with Frannie will cost him his wings. However, in this novel, Matt has sex with someone but keeps his wings until he succumbs to wrath; also, Frannie’s friend Taylor is tagged for Hell in this novel, and the dialogue at the time makes it sound like it had only happened after a pattern of bad behavior. Because of this inconsistency, I don’t quite understand how tagging works, and since it’s such a significant part of the novel, I really should be able to answer these questions by reading the book.
This quibble aside, the novel certainly doesn’t skimp on any other aspect that readers might wish for. For example, Original Sin provides more background as to what’s going on in Hell during the demons’ attempt to return Luc and capture Frannie. The author is obviously setting up for some major events in the next novel, as some pretty drastic things happen to the secondary characters. This gives the novel a darker tone than the first one, but it’s warranted, because events have to escalate if the story is to keep moving forward.
And speaking of those events, the story is pretty action-packed. The first book had a few encounters with demons and such, but this novel seems to ramp up the action by a few notches. This may be because the action has shifted away from focusing on Frannie. Here, Luc is the one in trouble—he’s now human and vulnerable to demons, even though he’s tagged for Heaven.
I also really liked the inclusion of Matt. Given that Frannie spent the first novel being so guilt-wracked over his death many years earlier, it’s only logical that he get to return once Frannie is constantly in contact with the denizens of the other worlds. His arc is one of the more complex ones in the series—we don’t get to see much of Gabriel, or he might take that honor—as he struggles with his human feelings and the consequences that they reap. He’s also a contrast to Gabriel and Luc, since they were never human to begin with.
The addition of Matt as a point-of-view character provides a fuller picture for the reader: first, there’s Frannie, who is wholly human; second, there’s Luc, who was demonic and is now human; and third, there’s Matt, who was human and is now angelic. Desrochers does a good job at differentiating these points of view and letting each character flesh out the plot from all the standpoints involved.
I think that I still liked the first novel a little bit more, but Original Sin has more than enough to interest readers, so I’ll be continuing with this series. High stakes, steamy romance, and a healthy dollop of action make Original Sin a summer read to devour.
This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on June 30, 2011.