“Your body is sacred,” he said, shaking his head. “You need to treat it as such. I’m not one of your customers.” “My body hasn’t been sacred for two hundred and twenty years. It may be a physical body, but it isn’t human.” “It’s still part of the divine,” he said. He knew there was nothing wrong with sex. On the contrary. But sex without spiritual connection, even a fleeting one… Even in his dreams, he knew better then to go there.
— Brandon and Luciana
Luciana is a rogue demon in Venice. She’s been around for a good two centuries doing her demon thing: seducing innocents, getting really good at the art of poisoning and once a year sacrificing a human to the devil so she can remain top-side. Now she’s gone and made a poison that can kill immortals, and the Council of Angels is really upset about that. Off goes Brandon, a tough, recently-dead, used-to-be-a-cop angel to retrieve her and bring her to the Council for judgment.
Brandon is really a thorn in Luciana’s side. He’s cramping her demon style and her plans for world domination (I am not making the latter up). First, he has the nerve to interrupt her annual sacrifice, putting her in debt to the devil (someone, we all can agree, that you don’t want to get angry). And now, after just meeting him, she doesn’t seem all that into the killing anymore. Feels bad for her victims. And there is no way she is going to take over the world if she gets all soft. Right Pinky?
And poor Brandon, Luciana has really thrown him for a loop. She’s sexy. One look into her green eyes and he responds like a 14-year-old-boy with a nudie-mag. She’s tapping into baser instincts (lust, greed, revenge) that a good angel is supposed to keep at bay. Plus, she keeps showing up in his dreams (hence the title). Which is good, but it’s interrupting his nightly nightmare where he relives his violent death. Can’t a man self-flagellate in un-peace?
Anyway, this is a romance novel, so it is all full of lustful glances and lacy undergarments. And, for good measure, a demon whore-house where Luciana used to work in her early days as a demon (why not?). It’s also got a plausible reason they can’t sleep together: it probably won’t look good on Brandon’s annual performance review if he sleeps with a demon. I am guessing God frowns upon such things. Brandon can’t sleep with Luciana, he’ll get fired. Literally!
The above all seems like standard, tawdry, bodice-ripping, Paranormal Romance stuff. But then it gets weird. Because Brandon actually says out loud that he can’t have sex unless there is a spiritual connection. See above quote. Does this remind anyone else of the Catholic teachings on sex? I swear this is standard Church doctrine that they throw out when saying, “no sex before marriage” and “don’t use birth control.”
So Brandon’s plan to save Luciana by getting her to seek redemption and shed her evil ways basically boils down to sleeping with her. But it will be “pure” sex, with their bodies as divine vessels. So that will make it okay. This is evidenced by the fact that Brandon is the first lover to ever make her orgasm. (That’s over 200 years of bad sex: no wonder Luciana’s a bitter demon.) All she needs is Sexual Healing; Marvin Gaye was right.
This is just weird. And bothersome. And reminds me a little of the South African health minister who said sex with virgins could cure AIDS. Pure sex will heal her of being evil? Are you kidding me? Don’t whacked-out pedophiles, rapists and/or cult-leaders use almost the same logic? The author took the “many people are having sex, but few are making love” theme of most romance novels a step too far.
And about sexing up angels. I am not an overly religious person. I can see how having angels running around wrestling with human imperfections makes a good story. I enjoyed Constantine. I thought Dogma was hilarious. I do not think the Church is beyond reproach and I am all about people being able to mock it in movies or play with it how they please. There are lots of creative stories revolving around God’s and the Devil’s underlings running around causing mischief without the big bosses knowing. But this book was a little over-the-top. It’s weird to have “cock” and “angel” in the same sentence. And weirder to have it explained as “okay” because it fits with Church doctrine.
I am not okay with this.
After trudging through the last 100 pages of sheer preachiness, I was yearning for the vampire novels with their silly sunscreen and underworld councils. Apparently, this book is part of a popular series (where all the good vs. evil is cured by sex). So people like this? Really? I guess there is an audience for everything. Then again, lots of people like the romance novels where the girl is some damsel in distress who is essentially raped (or, in romance-speak, “forcibly seduced”) by the hero. Maybe we all need to work on our girl-power some more.
On the Amy Scale of Paranormal Romance Novels: 1) This thing is so not worth $8 on my Kindle. 2) The writing is good, but the plot/story are oh-so-bad. And weird. 3) Brandon and Luciana are willing participants here. And I don’t think divine immortals need birth control. (Wait, yes they do! Read any Greek/Roman mythology lately? Gods were knocking up mortals left and right.) 4) No bonus points for creative anatomy names or 5) actual plot twists or literary devices.
The Demoness of Waking Dreams (Company of Angels # 2) by Stephanie Chong
Published by Harlequin MIRA | 2012
Available in Paperback and Kindle editions