55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2007
this book surprised me. I don't know what I expected, but definitely not something this well written and thought provoking.
Clayton's wife left him for another man and he hasn't recovered from the feelings of rejection. He's a fiction editor for a publishing company, looking for that one special book that will boost his career. He likes his job, but his personal life is a mess.
One night he walks into his favorite restaurant and finds a dark haired stranger waiting for him. The man introduces himself as Lucian, a demon, one of the fallen angels who fell from heaven with Lucifer. Lucien wants Clay to write his story, and a strange story it is, of creation, crucifixion, and resurrection, told from a demon's point of view. This book fascinated me. It gave me a new perspective on stories I thought I knew by heart. It's a provocatiave book, powerful, even disturbing at times. One the reader will remember long after he finish reading it.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
A couple of months ago I read the first chapter of Demon. It intrigued me and I put the book on my must read list. Then I had the opportunity to join a blog tour. The book arrived in the mail and I had to squeeze it into an already stretched reading schedule.
Upon opening it, I was pulled in and not let go until the last page, and now, I still mull over the details of this story.
There are so many wows that I can't even begin to go into them, but I'll try.
First, this story is fascinating. We all have spiritual awareness and curiosity. Look at what we read and watch. Even if we don't or won't admit that there is more to this life than birth, taxes and death, we know, deep within while wrestling with haunted thoughts at two a.m. that life is bigger than us. The premise of Demon is an angel who slipped up during worship, took his eyes off God and is forever damned. Only to witness the creation of pathetic creatures of clay who are given mercy and forgiveness and dare they accept God fully, a seed of God Himself, and his struggle with these mud creature and the God who created them.
Secondly, Tosca Lee is a talented writer. I'm amazed that Demon is a debut novel. Her descriptions, dialogue, characterization and level of tension are top notch. I will reread Demon when I have time to read at a pace where I can slow down and savor the rich sensory details.
Thirdly, Demon is haunting. I will ponder the spiritual implications of this story for a long time. If there is even a hint of truth within this story, a chance that some of what is shared about the clay beings importance to God, then maybe I need to live my life differently. Maybe I should be a person whose prayers and walk of faith make the demons uneasy.
Demon does not carry horrific or gory images, but it's unsettling. Easily ruffled feathers might want to use caution. Otherwise, I can't imagine someone who shouldn't read this fascinating account of God's story through the eyes of one of His enemies.
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Okay, let's just deal with the obvious comparisons. Yes, "Demon" has some similarities to "The Screwtape Letters" and "Interview With a Vampire." The most glaring one is this: great storytelling! The others--the interaction, the insights into the motives of an evil creature, the glimpses of history--are given their own spin by Tosca Lee.
The story follows Clay, an editor in Boston, who finds himself face to face with a fallen angel who disguises itself as different human characters. Lucian, wants to give to Clay an exclusive story, a memoir. He warns Clay: "the story is really about you." As the editor deals with this aberration and begins to accept it as reality, he gets caught up in the narrative, drained yet drawn by the unraveling of history as seen through the creature's eyes.
Tosca Lee uses wonderful sensory details and similes to add texture to this story, drawing us into a world that is beyond our own eyes, yet right before us. Even readers who don't believe in the biblical elements of this tale will have a difficult time not being coaxed into this struggle of intellects. This is not an action novel, yet it moves along nicely. While strong in its theological angles, "Demon" never pounds the reader over the head with doctrine. It does, however, give some razor-sharp commentary on religion, church, and the American pursuit of happiness. Lee pulls it all together in the end with subtle yet powerful ideas, which a few reviewers seem to have missed inexplicably--"Were you paying attention at all?" Lucian might ask.
There will be comparisons. They are inevitable. But Tosca Lee avoids many of the pitfalls that present themselves with such a book, instead offering a tale that feels fresh, yet older than time. Years from now, we may find other books being compared to this one.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
What can I say about the most unusual book I've ever read? The title, Demon: A Memoir, seemed intimidating. I'm a Pollyanna kind of guy. Why would I want to start a book about a demon? That was my mindset when I began to read this book, and I was a tough audience. I didn't get hooked until the third page.
Unbelievably the beauty of the prose began to move me. I'm a self confessed story addict. Don't give me descriptive, flowery poetry which delays a plot from unfolding. It's the storyline that grabs my interest. My goal is to gulp the words down, not hold them in my mouth and swish them between my teeth, hoping the taste will linger as long as possible. But just like the protagonist in this story, I was drawn to the story of the demon like a moth to an artificial fireplace. Despite my lack of time to fully savor this work, I found myself stopping to admire a beautiful phrase here and a stimulating simile there, even to the point of letting the prose melt in my mouth like chocolate.
I found myself wishing that I could write like Tosca. It was utterly unbelievable to me that a young lady could produce such a perfect novel on her first try. Like the Ghost of Christmas Past, taking Scrooge on a journey to see life from a different viewpoint, Ms Lee takes her readers and the protagonist through the story of the creation and population of the earth from the viewpoint of one of the fallen angels. Never had I considered how a demon might react to the nurturing relationship of God for his mud creatures. I got a glimpse of the birth of a newborn in a lowly manger through a different lens. A view of the crucifixion through demon eyes brought new insight into that gory event. Tosca wove beautiful prose into a captivating plot which delivered a message that transcends the word sermon. This work was very impressive for a veteran, much more a rookie! I really can't see how this author can be a one hit wonder, leaving me anxious to see her next book, a story of Eve.
Donald James Parker: Author of All the Voices of the Wind
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Clay, a divorced editor whose life has become meaningless to him, thinks he has found purpose again when he becomes obsessed with the story of Lucian, a demon who tells the writer he must record the story of his fall with the other angels who followed Lucifer.
When I first started this novel and a good portion of the way through it, I was sure it was going to be one of my favorites because I found the premise fascinating, the writing beautiful and the character development and dialogue excellent. The slow reveal that the almost innocuous, often seemingly charming and human-like Lucian in fact despises humans made it a chilling, atmospheric read as well. The problem came in for me when the demon at last began to explain why he and all the other fallen angels hate human beings so profoundly. The difficulty is that to really examine the motivation of those angels who turned from God, it is necessary to have a very well-developed theology backing the speculation, even if not posited point by point in the story, and an understanding of where a too simplified explanation will lead. To give only a slightly more developed version of the "Lucifer fell because of `pride' or because he wanted to supplant God, dragging a bunch of angels with him," story runs the risk of making God look bad and, in this story, to my way of thinking anyway, that's exactly what happened, despite any and every other good Christian message the novel tried to impart. To give an even more simplified summation of the story's simple premise: this is that Lucifer, taken with his own celestial beauty and magnificence decided that he ought to be the true god, and so he and all those angels who so much as looked at him for a moment and saw his beauty above and beyond God's were cast out of Heaven, forever damned and never able to be forgiven. In the meantime, human beings, tricked into sin by Lucifer so he can bring them down to his level, commit sin after sin, repeatedly turning away from the glory of God, just as those fallen angels did, but nevertheless, as God's new favorites, they can be forgiven everything, even to the point of God becoming one of them and sacrificing Himself for their redemption.
While, on the surface, this seems like a slightly more developed version of the Christian story, expanded from a few Biblical passages and Milton's Paradise Lost, in the end this doesn't really help the Christian, or non-Christian for that matter, to get a sense of just how intertwined the fall of Lucifer (Satan) with the fall of man nor does it give a sense of how serious the fall of angels, the real why of it or its impact on creation, because to follow the premise through to its logical conclusion actually just makes God incomprehensible. Instead of exalting God's goodness, love and mercy towards humans as the story wants to do and does in other ways, the underlying explanation of the fall instead makes God look fickle in His affections, impossible to understand in his motivations and arbitrary in His justice and mercy. To say that God is Love and that all creation is emanated from this Love itself, but go on to postulate that angels (who are no more infallible than humans, however closer to the divine power, since they are not God either) would render themselves unforgivable to the all-forgiving Creator for one split second of weakness while human beings, despite continual grace and revelation, can't seem to commit a sin horrific enough to turn God's love from them, can't really shed much clarity on the Christian understanding of divinity's relationship to celestial beings, why some angels turned from their Creator and what this means for human beings.
I realize that this review may seem overly picky and critical for those who are just looking for solid Christian messages about sin, redemption, obsession and weakness and who would say the story's only fiction anyway, and about things we can't really know to boot. And I do realize that it's extremely challenging to get across deeper theology in a speculative fiction novel. I definitely appreciate the difficulty for any author in that regard and think there were many excellent things about this story. It's even possible Lucian's explanation of the fall of angels was supposed to be symbolic of a greater turning away from God that wasn't explained, but without the full explanation, the demons in this story don't come across so much as evil as they do hurt and abandoned children, ones who deserve more pity than fear, and they wind up actually easier to understand than God is. As someone who studied theology with the goal of working as a theologian, I admit that the theological ideas which underlie the plot and the conclusions those premises lead to have a very big impact on how much I "like" a story and this is more or less just an explanation of why I, personally, had trouble with it, something that may have no effect on another reader. That is to say, while I found it a compelling, fascinating story with beautiful writing, I was still left with a concern about the overall feeling it conveys about the nature of God and what it really means to say He is Love, as well as what it says about the nature of angels and demons and their relationship to both God and man.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Imagine an encounter with a demon and how it would affect your life. The demon Lucian walked into Clay's life, and it changed his forever. What would a demon possibly have to gain by telling his story and having it published and what does this story have to do with Clay? With us? Well, that's the great mystery.
I love books that are unique, and this one qualifies. When I first read the title, I was thinking something along the lines of the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. That's not the case. It is the Bible told by a demon. Sounds odd, huh?
I love the view of demons presented by Lee. It's not the stereotypical little devilish looking men with below average intelligence performing silly little acts of annoyances on the average Joe and in the end getting outwitted. Instead she presents a very thoughtful look at these fallen angels which is quite fascinating and enjoyable to read. Through this fictional story, we're given a different way of viewing demons and their knowledge. I've read James 2:19 many times and I'm always struck by the knowledge that yes, the demons know the Bible well. They lived it! Lee did a fabulous job presenting this fact, by blending her imagination with Biblical truths. The outcome is an interesting, entertaining, thought provoking way of presenting the story of redemption.
I was impressed with this book. I love that it was intriguing, different, and honest. It hits on some excellent truths and really encourages the reader to reflect on their view of the world, their life, and themselves. For the most part it was very well written. I'm usually not a fan of historical Biblical fiction, preferring my own imagination to someone else's. However, this was extremely well presented. The fictional parts were obviously fiction, but realistic enough to be believable. I highly recommend Demon: A Memoir. It's a great twist on a story that can not be heard too many times and an excellent reminder to rejoice in the reason Lucian despises humans.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2009
I have to admit thrillers are my favorite genre. I love the action and the pacing. But even with thrillers, it's rare when I get so lost in a novel that I'm not mindful of the page numbers as I'm turning pages. Despite the fact Tosca Lee's DEMON: A MEMOIR is not a thriller and not action oriented, the story is so wonderfully engrossing it literally captured my imagination. I was amazed when, finally cognizant of the act of turning pages, I'd look at the current page number and realize twenty pages just flew by. The story--the writing--is mesmerizing.
The story begins as we join Clay wandering aimlessly in an earthly purgatory. He's recently divorced, a recovering alcoholic, a failure as a writer, and in a dead-end job. Life has no meaning. Enter Lucian, a mysterious fallen angel who desires to tell his version of biblical history. "I'm going to tell you my story, and you're going to write it down and publish it."
DEMON was in my queue to read, but I was in the middle of another book for review. Succumbing to the temptation to look at DEMON, one night I opened it and perused through the first few pages. Just a peek. I soon found myself obsessed with finishing it.
I admired the melodic feel to the words and phrasing. The dialog is also "voiced" well. There were no instances in which I was removed from a scene because of disjointed or boring dialog. The settings are enjoyable with sufficient description to effectively imagine the background, but not so much that it impedes the flow of the story.
Never before have I read a novel that made me really think about my lifelong perceptions of religion, angels, demons, and culturally defined happiness. I gained insight into things I had previously taken for granted--new perspectives. Unfortunately, I cannot provide examples here as they would spoil the impact of the discovery for yourself as you're engaged with the story. Just as Clay (and I) had to experience these things firsthand, you will have to as well. But let me say traveling through time with Lucian is absolutely worth the trip.
Clay is propelled face-first through spiritual realms while he desperately tries to grasp all that is happening, as best as humanly possible. Lee kills our complacency as we read, constantly changing the character manifestations of Lucian and his demeanor. This does not detract from the enjoyment of the story, but adds to it. We don't know when or where Lucian is going to appear and we never really know what's going to happen next. Just when you think you might have something figured out, you're wrong.
The writing is captivating, the story is riveting, and the themes are enlightening. Lee makes you evaluate what we believe regarding grief, grace, and spiritual beings. I'm thankful I read DEMON. It has jumped high onto the list of my all-time favorite novels.
[Rating: 1-5 Stars]
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2008
Tosca Lee has written a remarkable novel that is sure to have the reader glancing around him and examining strange faces in the crowd. Powerful from page one, the story is one of a publishing editor who finds himself approached by a demon who wants his own story written down and published. The demon repeatedly crosses the editor's path in the appearance of various human beings, and bit by bit relates, from personal experience, the account of the events of eternity past including the rebellion and casting out of Lucifer, the creation of man, and the ensuing battle between good and evil. The editor is slowly, inexorably drawn into fascinating tale and only late in the game realizes he is the fly to the demon's spider. When the story of evil starts to come alive in his own life, he becomes increasingly fearful, and begins to see his world spiraling downward into destruction. Caught between his obsession to hear the end of the story and his growing suspicion that he is being manipulated for reasons he cannot understand, the editor finds himself desperately fighting for his own spiritual life. The demon is relentless and has, of course, saved the most powerfuil revelation for last---but to discuss that would be to reveal too much. This novel is striking in its approach, beautifully written, and terrifyingly on-point regarding the battle for the souls of men. Don't expect to sleep anytime soon after reading this one.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2009
Demon was one of the most compelling books I've ever read, both for its message and its story. Having read C.S. Lewis's "The Screwtape Letters" and "The Ishbane Conspiracy" by the Alcorn family trio, I hoped that Tosca's book wouldn't be too similar in form and function to the aforementioned works. Demon is vastly different in almost every way.
The story is vividly imaginative and loaded with timeless wisdom amid a gripping storyline. This is not a book for those who want a fight scene every other chapter, but rather a novel for the intellectual, the theologian, the pastor, and most of all, for the one seeking truth. Through her characters, Tosca shares the saving knowlegde of Jesus Christ in a way unlike anything I've ever seen - the method is perhaps the most effective way to convey God's love that doesn't directly attempt to proselytize readers.
The tension in the book is so realistic that I felt challenged by almost every line of dialogue between the Demon and the protagonist to live my life better than I have been. The book doesn't need any violence or sex or profanity because Tosca's writing creates enough tension to keep her readers interested long after they finally set the book down; I'm personally still caught up in the story and I finished reading it almost two weeks ago!
The message is fantastic in content and in its portrayal, and the interaction between the characters makes it hard to put the book down, but Tosca shines brightest in her creative literary prowess. Her descriptions of the various events recounted through the Demon's eyes are breathtaking, to say the least, and they leave me, an aspiring author, encouraged that I still have much to learn about the craft. These descriptions are not boring fillers as they are in so many other books, but rather essential chunks of plot-progression that captivated me like no descriptions I've ever read before. What's more, despite their complexity, they are pristine with clarity. It's simply amazing.
I had the privilege of meeting Tosca Lee at a recent writer's conference before I read her book. I can tell you firsthand that she would give most of the credit to God and her editors for the beautiful poetry-in-motion in "Demon." That makes this book all the more compelling to me.
I HIGHLY recommend this book. If you read it, "Demon: A Memoir" will challenge your faith in new, healthy ways. Go buy it.
I'm eager to read "Havah," Tosca's next book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2009
It's been a while since a book like Demon: A Memoir has entered the Christian marketplace; in fact, I encountered a book with similar themes, it was Roger Elwood's Fallen Angel (part of the Angelwalk series). In the Elwood tomes (specifically, Fallen Angel), a former denizen of heaven narrates his biography in stunning detail. This go-'round (by "newcomer" Tosca Moon Lee), a fallen angel named Lucian shares his story with protagonist Clay. The more you roam the pages of this well-written book, you will begin to identify with him. (Furthermore, I found it fascinating how well a woman captures the essence of her male protagonist.)
From the "casting-out" of 1/3 of the angelic hosts from heaven, to Noah's Flood, to the arrival of Jesus the Christ, Lucian "illuminates" Clay as to Lucifer's motivations and tactics throughout the millennia. Through all this, Clay realizes that he shares more in common with Lucian than he thought.
The twist ending will leave you speechless. 'Nuff said on that.
Overall, I give this debut for Ms. Lee a firm five stars.