Crimson Night (Night, #1) - Marie Hall Pandora is a 5,000 year old Nephilim, a person whose daddy was an angel who did things he shouldn’t with a mortal woman. Along with some powers and a long life span, this also comes with a demon resting inside of her – Lust. And Lust must be placated and fed. It’s quite annoying.But she gets by, she and her small group of Nephilim, trying to the best people that demons can be. Not a little encouraged by mortals who monitor and police the supernaturalBut things are getting odd, vampires (nasty, demon created things) are swarming in surprising numbers for creatures near extinct; a Nephilim hunter bothers Pandora but seems disinclined to hunt, and powers unlike anything she’s seen in 5,000 years are involved.This book was a perfect first book right until the very end. The characters were excellently introduced along with a little information about each of them to give an idea of them without having to derail the main introduction, while at the same time giving a little bit of world building with each one. So we know things like Luc and Pandora’s past that colours their relationship without having to spend a long time on the backstory – while at the same time telling us about Nephilim losing control and going feral. We have a little information about Bubba while at the same time telling us about some of the awful things Nephilim are forced to do for their demons, how they, as a group, try to remain good. We have a little background on Vyxyn and how she doesn’t get on with Pandora – telling us that the group is somewhat forced together and leading nicely in to the Order of Light, the war and the policing of supernaturals.It’s a really elegant way of including a lot of backstory, interspaced with Pandora’s internal musings and recaps that are very lightly info-dumped, to get a maximum amount of world building, character development and backstory in place with minimal info-dumping and making the whole plot run smoothly.The plot itself is excellently paced – enough mystery and revelation, enough character development sprinkled with bits of action; shadows of a love triangle but it never developed into one and Pandora firmly in control of what she will and will not tolerate even with various forces pushing against her. It was a fun read with a lot of unknowns – unknowns that continue to be unknown at the end of the book as well – to leave me hooked in for the next book coupled with a whole lot of ominous foreshadowing and some excellently balanced description keeping everything vivid, but moving. We have a really nicely new world – the Nephilim are children of angels (who fell for being naughty and lusting) with their own vice demons possessing them. I like how it links vampires, zombies and other miscellaneous supernaturals back to this original Nephilim presence – creating a very potentially diverse world but still keeping the backstory focused and relevant.The story balance all falls apart towards the end. We’ve spent all this time setting up the world – and it’s an interesting world. I kind of know what’s going on, we have an adventure, we have a plot that looks pretty good though, I thought, pretty predictable. I was set in to enjoy it – it was fun, it had original elements but wasn’t breaking the mould too much.And then TWIST! The oh-so-obvious bad guy I was being all smug about recognising as the bad guy wasn’t a bad guy at all! I’d totally been red herringed with tropes – because he wasn’t even set up as a bad guy, it was just obvious to anyone who has read this genre for this long that he clearly would be! Damn that was clever. I applaud. And someone who wasn’t even on my radar as a potential bad guy was actually the evil one after all. I applaud twiceThen she descends to hell and there’s mini demons and pestilence and a mega-arch-demon who is uber-hot despite being Wrath (and really, why would Wrath be hot?) and possible angels and conspiracies and… what just happened?!I was busy applauding the very very very clever twists and then I’m in complete knots about where we end up. I’m fascinated about where we go from here – but there’s a difference between a twist ending and one that is poorly supported by the rest of the book. More development and foreshadowing is needed.Our protagonist, Pandora, is a Nephilim which, in this setting, means she has a demon inside her. The demons correspond with the classic 7 deadly sins and Pandora’s sin is lust. This means she has to have sex, the demon inside her compels her to seek out sexual partners and gives her the tools to seduce anyone.I always find these stories shaky because we usually see a lot of blurring of consent with them – of people using their super sexy powers to enthral lovers and this being presented as ok. In this case there was some dancing around the lines but not nearly as bad as I have seen elsewhere. One of the primary powers of those with lust demons is being able to transform themselves to look like their target’s physical ideal – rather than coercing lust with magic and enthralling them, Pandora simply looks like her chosen prey’s ideal lover which is seduction enough and keeps consent. She also talks about other Nephilim using their powers to rape people by violating their consent but adds expressly how she refuses to do so. We have that emphasis that she does respect consent, she has a line that she does not cross.Yet when she sees Billy she seems to try to enthral him. She throws her allure at him beyond shapeshifting (in fact, I don’t think she does shapeshift to seduce him) and is both frustrated and outraged that he didn’t respond and managed to resist her. There’s a grey there since it’s not clear whether she was trying to magically force attraction or was just outraged that someone as sexy as she was turned down.Read More