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The Devil Inside (Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – November 27, 2007
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Though demon possession is bad enough for the average Joe, Black's new heroine, native Philadelphian Morgan Kingsley, is a professional exorcist—making her possession by a powerful demon all the more infuriating (and embarrassing). Worse, the demon inside her, Lugh, is next in line to become king of the demon realm, and factions are hard at work to off him before he takes the throne. As neither of the standard options for demon killing appeal to Morgan (exorcism, which usually leaves the human host a mindless wreck, or burning at the stake, with predictable results), Morgan and Lugh (who communicate in dreams) must race against time to discover how he was implanted into her and, while keeping the rival demons at bay, how to get him out without killing her in the process. Although Black doesn't break any new ground, she's got a winning heroine, a well-crafted contemporary world where demonic possession is just a part of life and a nice balance of mystery, action and sex, making this light but engaging novel an urban fantasy series kickoff full of promise. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.
Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.
Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. She writes paranormal romance for Tor and urban fantasy for Bantam Dell.
Top customer reviews
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I wanted to like Morgan as much as the world that Jenna Black created, but she ultimately came off as a bit whiney and ineffectual. Character development of the secondary characters was stronger, and the pacing and action kept me reading. So overall if you enjoy your Demon fantasy, enjoy a unique world-build, and appreciate a bit of S&M sexy times thrown in (with an actual rationale for including it), then this book might just be for you.
Morgan Kingsley, perhaps the most powerful exorcist in the country, gets knocked out and drugged so that a demon can possess her. She hates demons with a passion and loves her job. Pretty good premise for a story right there.
The first book in the series introduces the reader to other characters that will be key in the rest of the series. One caution: read these books in order!!! While you could understand and enjoy any of the books stand-alone, you would miss a whole lot of character development. In the first book, Morgan is really, really hot-tempered and impulsive. She has such impulse- and anger-management issues, I found her to be a real pain-in-the-ass. Hang in there. She grows up. By #5 The Devil's Playground, she's only a bit impulsive and she has decent control over her temper.
There are good sex scenes in each book of the series, but those who want their sex to be "plain vanilla" might find some parts of the series disturbing, as there are gay sex scenes as well as a bit of BDSM. Morgan finds all that quite disturbing at first, but gradually gets used to it, and eventually comes to the realization that the closest, most loving relationship she has ever seen is that between two guys present all through the series.
In addition to a good, fast-paced plot throughout the series, what I really liked about all the books are the relationships, people overcoming prejudices and bigotry and a lot of personal baggage. Not only Morgan, but other characters too, come to grips with a lot of resentments and grudges, and learn to recognize the good and the not-so-good and even the bad in others as they currently are, not as they used to be or were thought to be.
Jenna Black has been added to my Favorite Authors List, along with Laurell K Hamilton, Patricia Briggs, Faith Hunter, and Kim Harrison (not necessarily in that order).
Morgan was raised in a very pro-demon family and while she doesn't buy into the extreme of Demons being creatures from the fires of Hell, she is adamantly anti-demon and has dedicated her life to her beliefs. As one of the world's best exorcists, it is her job to help eliminate "illegal" demons, those who posses unwilling hosts.
Unfortunately, Morgan's anti-demon viewpoint is about the only thing that she is consistent on throughout the book. She is inconsistent and flip-flops on almost everything else.
- She brags that she wears leather pants because they make her look hot, then is embarrassed about wearing a sexy outfit to a club.
- She is embarrassed and uncomfortable regarding the relationship between Adam and Dominic. She blushes at their public displays of affection and makes small-minded comments about their S&M lifestyle.
The majority of the book is focused on how hurt, scared, confused, and helpless Morgan feels as she tries to put on a "tough girl" facade. She stumbles through one stupid mistake after another, only recognizing her mistake long enough to whine about how sorry she feels. Then she's back to good ole Morgan... lashing out, making everyone else pay for her mistakes, and jumping head first into her next screw-up. As Adam says, she's "pretty monumentally stupid".
Before I purchased this book, I had read reviews criticizing the excessive amount of S&M. I put off buying this book based on those critiques. I was also told to stop reading the Anita Blake books at about book 8, but since I enjoyed a couple after that, I figured I'd give this one a shot.
The author sets up justification for the S&M in the world she creates. Demons are incorporeal in their own realm and do not have a sense of touch. Demons who have not spent a lot of time on the Mortal Plain can become so fascinated with the sense of touch that they enjoy sensations that humans would find unpleasant. Even though there is justification for the S&M, it doesn't enhance the story. It doesn't develop the relationship between Adam and Dominic. It doesn't grant further insight into the Demon psyche or their fascination with the sense of touch. The only apparent purpose for the full blown, explicit, "man on man" sex scenes is to setup additional situations where Morgan can experience conflicted feelings... mortification for being in the room next door and listening to Adam and Dominic... then suddenly... she's so turned on by it that she just can't help getting off to the "forbidden erotic images".
Even though there are only 2 detailed S&M sex scenes, I felt the book crosses the "erotica" line much more than LKH's Anita Blake books (I read through Dance Macabre, book 13). If you didn't like the level of S&M erotica in the later Anita Blake books, you probably will not like this one. There is also quite a bit more Male-Male sex than there is Male-Female sex. If you have issues with explicit Male-Male sex scenes, you'll want to skip this book.
In spite of the negatives mentioned here, I gave this book 2 stars because I felt that the world Jenna Black created was unique, interesting, and had the potential for some fabulous story telling. I even started the 2nd book in the hope that it would be better than the first. I've read about 120 Urban Fantasy books in the last 18 months. The 2nd Morgan Kingsley book now has the distinguished honor of being the first Urban Fantasy book that I will not finish. I'm about half way through it and just can't bring myself to finish it.