For What It's Worth

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Review: Sort of.... The Morgan Kingsley Series by Jenna Black

The Devil You Know [Paperback] by Jenna Black The Devil Inside (Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist, Book 1)                         

Posession. Murder. Mayhem.

Let the games begin...

Exorcism isn’t a job, it’s a calling—and a curse. Just ask Morgan Kingsley, a woman who has a stronger aura than any Demon. Or so she thought. Now, in a pair of black leather pants and a kick-ass tattoo, Morgan is heading back to Philadelphia after a nasty little exorcism—and her life is about to be turned upside down…by the Demon that’s gotten inside her.
Not just any Demon. Six foot five inches of dark, delicious temptation, this one is to die for—that is, if he doesn’t get Morgan killed first. Because while some humans vilify Demons and others idolize them, Morgan’s Demon is leading a war of succession no human has ever imagined. For a woman trying to live a life, and hold on to the almost-perfect man, being possessed by a gorgeous rebel Demon will mean a wild ride of uninhibited thrills, shocking surprises, and pure, unadulterated terror. . . .

What follows isn't exaclty a review....more of a rant /review....rambling in nature. Just thought I would warn you ahead of time.

I got dragged kicking and screaming into reading the Morgan Kingsley demon possession series. Only because my pals Bella from Obsessed books (one of only a few bloggers who can influence my reading choices) and Emma (known as @Emkatt77 on twitter) both went on and on about this series did I cave.
First off, I read Bella’s tweets while she was reading the series. I was intrigued. Then I hopped over to amazon to order. What? Wait…..this series sounded seriously freaky. Demon’s, BDSM, gay S&M. After reading the reviews I backed off. Uh-uh, I’m not reading that. Then Bella made a compelling argument in her review HERE. So I decided to bite the bullet and dive in. Here’s my take on the series so far. I have only read the first two books - (The Devil Inside (Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist, Book 1) & The Devil You Know (Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist, Book 2)) I'm starting the third tonight.
The premise revolves around demon possession. It’s legal, accepted, and even welcome in this society. Some people who feel they aren’t enough as a mere human like to allow a demon to possess them, giving them quick healing powers, allowing them to be in heroic/lifesaving professions such as policeman and firefighters. They feel they are doing something good for society by being a demon host. The demons get to feel things in a human body that they are deprived of in the demon realm. But like drinking – it’s legal but there are those who abuse it. There are demons who don’t want to ask first or be a productive member of society.
Enter Morgan Kingsley She’s a professional exorcist. She expels demons from humans who were possessed illegally and against their will. She has baggage. Her family belongs to a fanatical demon loving group that believes it is the most honorable thing to be a demon host. Her brother and family favorite Andrew is voluntarily possessed by a demon so she hasn’t spoken to her family in years. Nothing seems worse to Morgan than giving up your free will.
So imagine her surprise when she wakes up finding notes in her handwriting telling her she is possessed by the king of all demons – Lugh. Because of her strength he can’t gain total control of her body so they must learn to share.
This is a seriously uncomfortable series to read. The first book ,especially, does delve into the world of bondage, S&M and gay couples. Lugh tries to seduce her while possessing her body. Honestly though - I expected  much worse, so I was kind of surprised at how tame it was. I don’t really have any problem with gay couples either so that didn’t bother me. Not that it isn’t graphic – it is. What bothered me though were not the gay couples or their sex lives, it was Morgan’s reaction to it and to Lugh himself. Sure all the guys are outrageously good looking and seductive but where is your self-respect woman? She claims to love her boyfriend Brian but she seems to get pretty lustful for any dude in tight pants at the drop of a hat. Some of it can be expected. She’s is privy to some steamy scenarios with Adam & his lover Dominic. Lugh also has access to her deepest desires so he can be whatever she wants him to be. Which I found creepy – not sexy. She also has her lustful thoughts at some very inopportune times. Like oh say…when your boyfriend may be at death’s door or say when you’re being held against your will….that kind of stuff bugs me.
I like her boyfriend Brian which has caused me endless grief since he is considered boring by Bella & Emma. Yup – he is. But he has also come through when Morgan is in trouble and couldn’t – nay – wouldn’t save herself. And it goes more against Brian’s nature to do these things so it ups his status in my eyes. That being said he’s an idiot to keep going back to her. To me though that makes every guy in this series a wimp. She betrays and treats almost every single one of them like crap and they all come back for more.
Morgan’s self-righteous indignation at all the men her life gets old after a while. She’s supposed to be all bad ass…but guess what? Other than shooting a stun gun she doesn’t do too much more. When push comes to shove she can’t make the tough choices. So that leaves the men in her life to carry out the “evil” stuff. She then makes sure they know just how mad she is at them. Until they rev up her hormones that is.
OK. So by now you’re thinking, “Karen you must really hate this series. I bet you will never read another book Bella recommends again.” But here’s the thing. I can’t stop reading them! When I get to the end of each book I’m like…WAIT! What happens next?? You can’t end there!! And I immediately download the next one.
They are seriously addictive and there is a battle brewing in the demon realm as they try to create a race of humans that are easier to control and possess. I love all the demon stuff. I’m particularly liking Raphael – Lugh’s brother. You never quite know what he’s up to – if he’s good or evil, or somewhere in between. Because his relationship with Morgan isn’t sexual it plays out more naturally. I have my own thoughts on what I think is happening there but I guess I’ll have to make it to the end to see if I’m right. When she’s with Adam (a demon cop that often assists her) there is always a mix of lust and hate that doesn’t always make sense in the context of the plot. I like Adam and in a different story or context I would have liked these two together. Here, I just feel bad for Brian and Dom.
I also enjoy how Lugh can see and cut through Morgan’s bullshit meter. You never know what his true intentions are either and it makes for a fascinating dynamic. They have a sexual tension that kind of creeps me out but I still like them as a team.
As I begin book 3 The Devil’s Due, I can’t wait to learn more about each and every character. Yes, even Morgan, because big stuff is a brewing! The demons are supposed to be the bad guys according to conventional wisdom but Black’s portrayal of them is so layered and complex that I just don’t buy into that. I find that I agree with them and their methods more often than the humans.
So while I can’t say that I love the series as much as Bella and Emma, I have been completely sucked in to a series that angers, frustrates, confuses, and thrills me. Can’t ask for much more than that!

Thanks Bella & Emma for the recommendation………….I think. 0_0


  1. HeHe - this is a wonderful review :)

    That's the thing that really makes a book / series fantastic ... when you just CAN'T HELP but want more and more and MORE, even though you may not like some (many? ;) aspects of the story ... I went through the same thing with Rachel Vincent's Stray (Shifters, book 1) ... the MC does nothing except go against what everyone else wants from her JUST to be contrary ... her ex and her dad are so ALPHA that I pretty much always wanted to bash their heads together ... and the story is graphically violent and rather disturbing ... yet I couldn't stop reading, lol, and am definitely going to read the entire series when the last book, Alpha, is released in October.

    Authors that get this right are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. IMHO :)

    I'm totally with you on all the demon stuff and just love the entire premise of the story - I mean, seriously, I've never read anything like this before - and I'm not sure if it's possible to explain it someone else - you kind of have to read it for yourself to see just WHY it's so interesting and addictive! There's also always *something* happening - I was never bored because the action doesn't often let up - and I loved that! I totally know what you mean about Adam, too ... I sort of wanted him and Morgan to get together, then I remembered poor Dom (who's SUCH a sweetie :) and felt bad :s (... you notice I didn't mention Brian :P ...)

    ... and Raphael! He's the awesomeness :D I started off hating him about as much as Morgan does ... but the way you just NEVER know what he's all about - and his hilarious attitude problem - seriously grew on me :D I think you're going to love Barrons from the Fever series - he's just like that! As soon as you start to think you might have him pegged as a good guy, he does / reveals something that might or might not be evil, and you just DON'T KNOW! I love that :)

    When I began the series I was totally in Morgan's camp - how the hell could anyone agree to give up their free will, no matter the healing powers / heroic potential - demons are EVoL!!! ... but then I slowly began to realize that, well, you can't really label them without understanding their side first ... and, once you begin to *get* them, you kind of realize that they might NOT be so evil ... and humans might not all be *good*, either.

    HeHe, I get your point about Morgan and her lustfulness, LoL ... I still think that she is nowhere near as bad as Sookie, though ... I mean, you can't help who you lust after, or how inappropriate the situation may be ... but at least she doesn't GIVE IN to her lust, unlike a certain Ms. Stackhouse ... I figure that redeems her :) She's always faithful to Boring Brian ... always always always ... even under almost constant temptation from smexy men in tight pants, hehe ... and that's admirable :) HeHe the question is - will Brian CONTINUE to put up with her crap?? :P

    I'm really glad that you're enjoying this series, sort of ;) ... hope you find that it only gets better! Happy Reading! (",)

  2. Well Sookie has only slept with three guys right? Not too bad...still can't stand her though.
    I think I just have a problem with the Hate/lust angle. She is so mad and then ooh - Like that erases everything else she feels. I totally get the attractions though but I always feel that on the demons (Lugh/Adam) side it is somewhat manipulative since they have the upper hand in the relationship. And I always feel bad for Dom. He makes it clear at least in the first book that he doesn't want Adam with anyone else and it just bums me out when Adam continues to almost pursue Morgan even though I get it.
    I will make a *small* consession here...Brian is boring and yes, he keeps turning up like a bad penny. Just leave her already...I still like his loyalty though.
    You will never get me to say that about Peeta though - I don't think he's boring or a wimp!
    I'm waiting for the last shifter book too before I start that series. I find that if I don't have to wait a year between books my tolerance level for annoying characters goes up. Sometimes their actions make more sense when you can go right to the next book.

  3. Oh, Karen, you made it way further than I did. I can honestly say this book did NOT want me wanting more but I did make me want to take a week long shower with bleach just to feel less dirty after reading it. ICK! I actually thought this book was horribly written and I'm surprised I made it through to the end.

    You can check out my rant here if you want. ;)

  4. Cat - tried to leave a comment on your blog but I didn't see a link. I can't say I disagree with anything you had to say. I was forwarned about all the sex and S&M so at least I wasn't surprised by the graphic nature of it. I tried to just get through it and onto the next book where I was promised it got better (and it does - FAR less sex) but it is still my least favorite part of the series. It kind of feels like she throws a gay couple in there and then doesn't know quite how to treat the subject matter. I still have a lot of issues with the series but I can't help wanting to know what happens with the demon world. I kind of wish this series was just about the guys with no Morgan - her reactions just don't sit well with me. This series is not for everyone that's for sure! Just when I think I can't take anymore though something happens that I want to find out about....
    Thanks for leaving the link!

  5. Great review Karen, but I'm with Cat, you made it WAY further than I did. However, I didn't do the scrub down with bleach. LOL I just couldn't read it. I liked the blurb and saw some good reviews, ordered the series (I can never wait on a book, especially if it's already out O.o) sat down to read the first and stopped. Started again after a couple of books and stopped again. Just couldn't get into it at all. Those books were turned in for ones I could read.

  6. KittNLuv - yup it was tough to get through but luckily I had more warning going in. I'm on book three and she really lays off all the sex stuff. Hope it stays that way. I didn't put a number rating for the books because frankly at different points throughout the series I would give it anywhere from a 1 to a 4. I don't love it but I feel oddly compelled to finish it!

  7. Love the review Karen! I have to agree with everything you say but i just LOVED the series! The first couple of books i took a serious dislike to Morgan and wanted to reach inside that book and slap her about a bit. The sex scenes did make me slightly embarrassed and glad they were toned down in the next ones and we wont talk about 'wet fish/doormat' Brian as much as we wont talk about BILL COMPTON anymore!! :-)) I also agree that there was way too much looking at bulges, theres just no need, whats with all the men that wear tight trousers anyway?!

    The thing is when you read something that makes you angry, gross's you out a bit and makes you laugh (Raphael) you have to give it some credit that a book is able to make you feel those emotions. Thats why i love it and thats what made me want to read one after the other!

  8. I liked this more than I thought I would. Pleasantly surprised! I'm hooked, started the next book right away.

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