After thousands of years, life is pretty good for Pandora. She’s a Nephilim, part human and part demon, imbued with the soul of Lust. That means that she’s everybody’s wet dream, and when she gets that itch, you can bet she gets it scratched. It feeds her demon and it provides her entertainment. Life in the Carnival Diabolique, a decadent circus of sin and sometimes pleasure, is enough for Dora and her adopted family of Nephs. They look out for one another, feed each other’s demon and keep each other safe. They may not all like each other, but they protect their own.
Luc, their leader and Dora’s sometime lover, has a complicated history with her. Her closest friend, Kemen, or “Sloth” is her haven in the midst of the chaos. With them, she travels with her Carnival hunting any vampires, werewolves and other creatures that leech on humankind as they appear. It keeps them on the right side of the law, directed by an order of humans who had previously almost exterminated them. With a liaison to direct them, they live their lives satisfying their demonic needs and abolishing whatever creature the order requires.
But the everyday indulgence of her demon Lust comes face to face with a man that is apparently unmoved by desire, the one creature every Neph is taught to fear: a death priest. Dora is drawn to him, and so is Lust. They want him, even though he has been following her, and could kill her at any moment. And the attraction seems mutual, even as the priest tries to fight it. When he doesn’t kill her, she is fascinated.
Trying to find answers she turns to Grace, their human liaison. With her knowledge of paranormals, Grace gives her information and sets her on a new task for the order: discovering the rogue Neph leading a brazen group of vampires. Dora tries to sort out the double crosses when a mysterious figure appears and tells her to trust no one. Is the warning against Luc, her oldest lover? Or Kemen, her best friend? The list of possibilities seem endless, with the death priest, her human handlers, and the rest of her Neph crew included. Who can she trust? Who is willing to kill her?
Fast-paced, told in first person as Pandora relates the past actions, you are drawn into the story. Her warning as you begin fills you with questions, and her carnival world pulls you in. Dora herself is a fascinating character. On the surface, she transforms into the beholder’s most coveted lover. Lust then takes her fill from sex, and stays subdued as long as Pandora keeps her fed.
Her whole crew shares the double life of demon soul inside, with the need to feed their demon, but her dilemma is deeper. She is half human, and hence more fragile, more aware of her limitations. All her experiences as a human/demon hybrid have made her very aware of the world and people around her. She is a demon, but her very nature is contradicted by her compassion for others around her. She is a multilayered character, and her motivations are tied to her past and make you want more answers.
4.5 out of 5 Whatzits. “Crimson Night” is a great read: engaging, humorous, and sexy. A great start beginning for Pandora’s story,it sucks you in to read the next installment. I would classify this as more of an Urban Fantasy, rather than a Paranormal Romance, particularly since the arc of Dora’s story conforms more to that, and anyone seeking that HEA at the end of this will be left hanging. Perhaps at the end of the series, but not in this novel. The editing needs a little work, but a solid start for a new series, one heck of a female protagonist, and a wild ride of a world to explore! Keep ‘em coming, Marie Hall!