Luc’s on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell to claim Frannie Cavanaugh’s soul. But the more time he spends with her, the less in control he feels – which is concerning given that the punishment for failure will be dismemberment and eternity in the Fiery Pit. Frannie is similarly drawn to Luc – at least until Gabe arrives to protect her from Luc and establish his own, heavenly claim.
Personal Demons is not my kind of book. It is the type of paranormal romance that hits a good number of my do-not-like buttons, and I struggled with a lot of the plot and particularly the romance itself. In addition, the constantly changing first-person perspective didn’t work for me, especially as I didn’t think the voices of Frannie and Luc were distinct enough from each other.
My greatest difficulty with Personal Demons stems from the fact that the attractions between Frannie and Luc and Frannie and Gabe are tied so tightly to their respective powers. It never felt like their ‘love’ was natural, but rather as though it had been forced by the mere circumstance of their coming within the sphere of influence of each other’s abilities. Frannie’s inability to truly choose between the two seems to confirm that she becomes drunk on heavenly or demonic pheromones whenever in their presence. What’s more, Frannie’s own abilities are such that she can physically change her suitors into what she wants them to be. The difficulty of this is briefly touched upon in the novel, but only in a very superficial way, and I am always wary of books that conflate ‘destiny’ with forced attraction.
As a protagonist, Frannie is not the most realistic teenage lead. She is physically powerful – much more so than her stature would imply – and apparently irresistible to boys. What’s more, she has an ability that makes her the most important human on the face of the earth. I found it impossible to identify with her because she wasn’t real. I did, however, appreciate the way she was described as a young woman who was comfortable with her sexuality without there being any judgement attached to her sexual choices.
I can see exactly why Luc and Gabe will appeal to many readers, but their portrayal didn’t work for me on a personal level. The traits that make Luc interesting and appealing at the beginning of the book slowly erode away as Personal Demons continues. While this is in keeping with the changes that he undergoes, it nonetheless limited my enjoyment of his character. In contrast, Gabe’s character remains fairly constant throughout the novel. For an angel, he seems particularly smug and cold and I found the scenes that placed him and Frannie together difficult to believe. I don’t think their connection was well-enough established for the talk of love to ring true.
However, many of the issues that I had with Personal Demons will greatly endear it to other readers. The change in Luc’s personality will be greatly appreciated by those who enjoy romances centred around a partner’s redemption and the concept of partners being linked by fate is one that has become particularly popular in the wake of the Twilight series. Indeed, Personal Demons reminded me a lot of Meyer’s works. While the plot bears little resemblance, the romantic themes are similar and I think (non-ironic) fans of the Twilight series may also enjoy Desrochers’s Personal Demons books, even if I did not.