Bethwyn is a judge for the Aurealis Awards. This review is the personal opinion of Bethwyn herself, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team.
Title: Demon Child
Author: Kylie Chan
Series: second book in the Celestial Battle trilogy; eighth book in the entire series (including the first trilogy, Dark Heavens, and the second trilogy, Journey to Wudang)
Publication Date: June 1st 2014
Synopsis: "War with Hell looms and the cruel demons could gain control of everything. Emma Donahoe has faced down threats to her loved ones and never given up the fight. But as the demons close in, she faces a new danger - John's love for her could lead to her complete annihilation. As battles rage for control of Heaven and Earth, she must fight her own war to retain her independence as her identity is absorbed into that of the man she loves..."
My thoughts: Let me start this by saying - I will not be giving away any spoilers aside from what is already stated in the blurb above (sorry about that...). I will be giving me overall impression and feels about this book, and then talking about the series a little bit as a whole.
This is technically the second book in the Dark Heavens trilogy, but Kylie Chan has been following Emma's story for eight books now, with the next book set to be the final one (eee!). [side note: there is also a separate book set before White Tiger, the first book in the series, called Small Shen that details two of the side characters.] I have read all the books before this and have travelled the ups and downs with the characters.
After being a little disappointed with the last book (Dark Serpent) because the characters all sounded a little same-y to me, this book was such a brilliant return to the world. I love the martial arts and Chinese mythology elements to these books, and (I may be completely wrong as I am an amateur on these topics) it seems like Chan has really got her facts right. I lapped this book up in three days and wanted more.
There were occasional points where I felt like there was either too much going on for me to understand (it was very convoluted), and other times where I felt like Chan was relying a little too much on info-dumps to get information across to the reader, but those moments were few and far between. Overall I felt completely drawn in to this book and oh-so-happy to be back with the characters.
In terms of the series as a whole, I have had conversations with people about Chan's books where they have written her off because they found her characters or storyline to be a bit too 'light-weight' or 'superficial', and I respect the decision of others to avoid reading her books - I prefer that to having conversations or reading comments by people that are just blatant attacks on Chan's writing or deliberately being frustrating. But I have to say that I just don't see what others seem to be seeing. I guess when I started these books I was just at a perfect time in my life to disappear into them - I actually read the first one from the library and then bought all six that were out at the time (the Dark Heavens trilogy and the Journey to Wudang trilogy) and powered through them. I love the characters and the plot, I love the romance and the action. For me it is a world that I will happily disappear into.
If you're willing to give it a go, I highly recommend these books. I can't wait for the last one (Black Jade, publication date unknown)!!!
You would like this book if: You like female characters that learn to defend THEMSELVES thankyouverymuch; you are interested in Chinese mythology and martial arts; you have read all seven previous books ^_~
If you'd like to keep up to date with what I'm reading, follow me on Goodreads here!