Ended up buying and reading The Demon Girl (The Rae Wilder Novels) by Penelope Fletcher. It’s rated 4 stars on 14 reviews at Amazon and my rating would be 4 stars too.
Update: You can find The Demon Girl free at Smashwords.
It’s the sort of book that’s got a ton of qualities – good and bad.
The good -
- It captures the ‘this makes zero sense to me. Why would she do this?’ feeling perfectly. Any man knows the feeling – the utter incomprehensibility of women. A world full of strange things like feelings and self-sacrificing empathy and stubbornness/strength mixed with delicateness/vulnerability. It was exactly how you feel when the woman you’re with gets upset over something that makes zero sense to you – Like not asking her where to go for dinner or asking her where to go for dinner.
- There’s a lot wrapped into the story. There’s a vampire, a good fairy, an evil fairy. Predictably, they are all after the Demon Girl. Even more predictably, and in the most frustratingly true way possible, the Demon Girl is in love with two of them.
- It captures another thing very well – the whole love triangle thing. Look carefully and there’s usually one person in that triangle who wants it, perhaps even needs it. The book captures it perfectly without adding any excuses. It would be presumptuous to claim that a large percentage of women have a fantasy about having 2 men vying for their love – but there might be a lot of truth to the claim.
- The characters are very human. They might be vampires and demons but you can relate to them.
- It was a good read and an engrossing one. Things moved quickly – both on the story level and on the emotional level.
A good comparison in terms of the protagonist’s feelings would be Robin Hobb’s Assassin series. There, the protagonist is a boy, and the feeling throughout was – He’s doing something crazy but I know why he’s doing that.
In this book you have no clue – Rae (the protagonist) switches between utter self-centeredness and total empathy for others. She’s totally driven by emotion – it’s almost as if she can’t control her emotions at all.
The bad -
- The level of editing is shockingly bad. If the author confessed that she wrote this in an opium induced haze and then sent it out without ever looking at it again it would explain the utter lack of polish perfectly. It would also explain the beauty.
- This wasn’t a major pain but the book is the first book in the series. You’ll have to wait until summer for part 2.
- The strength (that it’s very driven by how the protagonist feels) is also the weakness. It’s literally a sea of emotions and everything is viewed through the eyes of the protagonist Rae.
- Everyone’s names have excess e’s and n’s stuffed into them.
- It could really, really use more polish.
Strangely, a book like this highlights that editors and publishers (of some sort) will always be needed.
With 6 to 9 months of polish and shine this book could be a Top 10 book. It has the basic ingredients. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with this author and this series. It’s not that different from I Am Number 4 in terms of movie potential. The only thing is that this book is so real (as opposed to the Walt Disney ‘love you forever’ romance in #4) that it might not interest Hollywood.
That’s actually the best thing about this book – It’s real. It’s frustrating because the people in it behave like real people and do crazy, incomprehensible things. However, that’s the beauty of it – at no point are you laughing at how much of a fairy tale it is. It’s a book about real life with demons and great possibilities thrown in.
One last thing – the author is making a huge mistake by not putting this at $1. It’s a make-or-break mistake. She has a shot at hitting the Top 100 with this book – By going for $3 she’s losing that opportunity. The book is totally worth $3 but it has to be at $1 to minimize friction and increase sales volume. It’s the most short-sighted thing possible – she can price the later books in her series for $2 or $3. She has her big window of opportunity right now and she’s throwing it away.