Beth Woodward’s sequel to The Demon Within pushes Dale outside of her comfort zone and into the limelight. Amara’s daughter provides a perfect figurehead for demons, and our young protagonist must learn how to use her notoriety to serve her own needs. Dale still mistrusts supernaturals in general, especially after John’s betrayal, but her kind heart makes it impossible to walk away when her abilities (and blood) provide protection to others.
Embracing the Demon boils down to what could happen if humans found out that angels and demons lived among us. Let’s just say that Beth Woodward’s vision doesn’t involve a parade and keys to the major cities! Many humans feel threatened by beings with extraordinary powers which creates the perfect breeding ground for a human’s first type resistance. Dale must decide which side of her heritage takes precedence. Can she side with the group that killed her mother, or will her human heart win out?
This novel shifts narrators between John and Dale, although it’s not divided strictly chapter by chapter. Because it’s still written in first person, I enjoyed this perspective since it gave me insight into John’s thoughts, as well as allowing for exploration of events where Dale wasn’t present. I also found John slightly more sympathetic when I could experience his point of view, as I had complicated feelings about his involvement in the climax of The Demon Within.
Embracing the Demon felt both darker and somehow more transcendent than Dale’s introductory story. The plot’s focus on one group against a perceived “other” resonates in the current political climate, yet is universal enough to feel timeless. The final paragraphs left my heart in my stomach, but I also need to know how Dale will face the latest revelation. Can she continue to embrace her humanity while facing the challenge of protecting the demons who look to her as Amara’s successor? Dale may have to sacrifice her loving heart to protect her new found group, but will it absolutely destroy her in the long run?
4 Hole in the Wall Diners out of 5
Creative Team: Beth Woodward (author)
Publisher: California Cold Blood Books
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