“The Demon Abraxas” by Rachel Calish

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“The Demon Abraxas” by Rachel CalishThe Demon Abraxas by Rachel Calish
Published: 2013 by Bella Books
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 264
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
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Generally I steer clear of paranormal romance, but I was intrigued by The Demon Abraxas because it featured a lesbian couple.  Speculative fiction is greatly enriched by diversity, and a love story between two women who get mixed up with the supernatural seemed right up my alley.

When a San Francisco businesswoman named Ana Khoury leaves a party to check on a coworker, she stumbles upon a corpse and is kidnapped by a demonic cult.  Her unlikely rescuer is the sophisticated and alluring Sabel Young, who happens to secretly be a witch.  Ana has had a crush on Sabel for a while, and now she finally has a chance to act on it.  There’s only one problem.  As a souvenir of her kidnapping, she’s possessed by a demon named Abraxas, and he’s the third wheel in the relationship.

When Ana was originally possessed by Abraxas, she didn’t really know what was happening.  As she learned to accept his presence, the two characters began to develop a symbiotic relationship.  My favorite parts of the story were the scenes that featured the inner dialogue between Ana and Abraxas.  Abraxas’ philosophical insights and mentoring help Ana reevaluate her life and attitudes as she comes to terms with her troubled adolescence.  Through Abraxas’ eyes, she is empowered to stop judging herself and realize that she is a strong and independent person.

Even though Abraxas is a blessing, he is a complication in Ana’s life.  Rachel Calish builds a world where demons aren’t evil per se, but rather, their source of power comes from passion and chaos.  They can cause great harm, or they can use their powers to protect mankind.  Witches derive their powers from a different source, and don’t get along with demons.  Ana’s friendliness with demons puts her relationship with Sabel in jeopardy because their worlds just don’t mix.  At times, the witch versus demon drama felt contrived.  We know that the two sides hate each other, but we don’t really know why, except that it’s an old grudge.  The witches realize that there are both good and bad demons, but they hate all of them.  The background between the feud wasn’t adequately explored, and I felt that the tension between characters could have seemed more organic and less Capulet versus Montague if there had been a bit more explanation.

The Demon Abraxas is a strong debut novel exploring themes of love, healing, and inner strength.  Ana is a kickass protagonist who takes on demons like it’s nobody’s business, but she is also a complex character struggling with the psychological implications of childhood abuse.  I can’t wait to see more of what Rachel Calish has to offer.

7 thoughts on ““The Demon Abraxas” by Rachel Calish

  1. Hi Grace, thanks for the review and the feedback. I’ve been working on the sequel so I’ll definitely get more info about the witches vs. demons conflict in there. I’m glad you enjoyed the complexity of the characters and Ana in particular.

    1. You’re welcome! 🙂

      It’s also interesting to see paranormal books with protagonists who are a bit older and established in their careers, rather than the young hero coming of age.

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