Book Review – The Demon Catcher by Lesley Hastings
Genre: Fantasy Gay Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 5, 2011)
About the book:
“Brother Euan has always been skeptical about the existence of demons. He may have spent his life in a monastery dedicated to the God Ajen, but that doesn’t mean he has to indulge in superstition. Even the unnatural storm that batters the monastery one night isn’t enough to make Euan believe. But superstition becomes the least of Euan’s worries when Leon of Tremea arrives at the monastery to investigate the reports of demonic activity. Leon is nothing like the frightened, shame-filled monks, and when Euan is assigned to assist Leon in his work, he finds himself struggling with desires he’d thought firmly under control. After a second demon attack on the monastery—one that not even Euan can explain away—Euan’s beliefs and assumptions about the world are shattered, and with nothing to hold him back, he opens himself to his feelings for Leon. But then Euan discovers that Leon is not all he seems to be….”
The Demon Catcher is a promising debut novella by author Lesley Hastings mixing fantastical elements and gay erotica. It’s made clear that the setting is not on Earth – but it’s similar enough – the monks in the story could have lived in our middle ages (even though they worship other gods).
Brother Euan has lived a sheltered life in the Ajenite monastery dedicated to the worship of Holy Ajen and Blessed Kara. He thinks that the Damned God and his ‘escaping’ demons are just superstitions, but recent events convince his fellow monks that evil / demons are afoot. A ‘Demon Catcher‘ Leon of Tremea is summoned by Euan’s father superior to the monastery, and Euan is given the task of assisting Leon. Euan is forced to re-evaluate a lifetime of beliefs when he is confronted not just with his growing feelings for Leon, but another deadly demon attack threatens him & his fellow brothers in the monastery.
I thought that Euan was a very sympathetic character; I really empathized with him when he was struggling against believing in the existence of the demons to begin with, and also against his growing attraction to the foreigner Leon. The ‘Demon Catcher‘ Leon is much more mysterious and we’re kept in the dark about his real nature until the end. I found the little information that is given to us about Leon’s real job very tantalizing though – and I’m excited that the author is currently writing the sequel ‘The Taken Ones‘ where we get to know more about Leon.
I did like how the romance between the two was developed; yes, it was a bit rushed, but then the two men were placed together in an extraordinary circumstance. It will be interesting to see where it goes for these two. I did wish that everything was more fleshed out in this book, but I guess the novella format just didn’t give the author enough space to really develop the characters (we really only get to know only Euan well, and hardly any of the secondary characters) and their story. The world building also could have been better. But like I said earlier, the author does show promise in terms of great imagination, and I do want to read more from her.
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