Monday, 12 September 2011

Review: Where Demons Fear to Tread - Stephanie Chong

Series: The Company of Angels 1
Genre: Paranormal romance
Pages: 358
Published: August 23rd 2011
Publisher: Mira
Source: For review
Review by Lis

Fledging guardian angel and yoga teacher Serena St. Clair dares enter Devil's Paradise nightclub on a mission—to retrieve the wayward Hollywood "It Boy" she's assigned to protect. But she's ambushed by the club's owner, arch demon Julian Ascher. The most powerful demonic entity in Los Angeles, Julian is handsome as sin, a master of temptation who loves nothing more than corrupting pleasure–seeking humans. He won't release the lost soul Serena is supposed to guard. Unless she accepts his dangerous wager…
After the disastrous way his human life ended, Julian vowed that no woman would get the better of him again. Yet this sexy–sweet angel, smelling of fresh ocean air and happiness, triggers centuries–old feelings. Now, their high–stakes game of seduction, where angels fall from grace and where demons fear to tread, will lead them either to an eternity in hell.or a deliciously hot heaven.


What’s up with Angels and Demons? It’s are a rising trend in romance books just as vampires and werewolves once were. It’s a bit scary to tell you the truth. I grew up on stories of myth, legends and stories from the bible where Angels and Demons are divine and devilish creatures. Especially Angels are glorious, divine, mystical and powerful creatures. It seems weird to humanize them and put them in romance books. At least, it seems to me. Alright, enough of my rambling. Can you guess what this story is about?

Where Demons Fear to Tread is the story of Serena who is new addition to the company of Angels (you can see heaven as one big celestial company), Julian, an Archdemon, and to an extend Nick, Serena’s ward. This is where the story begins, because Nick is Hollywood’s latest bad boy and partying hard while Serena tries to watch over him and teach him yoga to get him straightened out. This is apparently not an  easy feat and it’s proven when Nick parties in Julian’s latest soul ensnaring club. Serena follows and BAM, Julian sees a new project. In fact, Julian is quite taken with Serena. And it’s: let the games begin. The price? Souls. 

While this story is not at all bad, it was hard for me to like the character of Serena. The author created a typical black and white story where angels are the good guys and demons the bad guys. It’s only later in the story where the lines blur, but more on that later. Serena is your typical sweet, selfless and self-sacrificing Angel who believes in love. She seems too naïve to me. Almost as if she doesn’t know anything about the world. But she believes in her ideals. 

Julian on the other hand is a victim of circumstance and your archetypal bad boy. He’s been around the block a time or two and knows what’s out there. He’s jaded and burned by love. Yet, Serena’s light shines so brightly that he’s attracted to it and will do anything to have her… 

There is another important character in this book and that’s Serena’s ward, Nick. In a way he’s the foil for Julian. Julian is fiercely independent and makes his own choices and knows exactly what he’s doing. He doesn’t care who he breaks, who he hurts or what he takes as long as he comes out on top. Nick is the opposite. Sensitive and sweet and very ignorant, he feels misunderstood by his divorced parents and will do anything to get their attention. He believes the only right thing in his world in Serena. While trying to get everyone’s attention, Nick makes all the wrong choices. And where Julian moves towards redemption, Nick moves towards damnation. 

Where Demons Fear to Tread is also a story of redemption. In this case that of Julian through Serena. There are several more themes in this story, one among them is choices. Everything is a choice you can make. While I like that, it clashes with the black and white view of angels and demons, good and bad that the author portrays in this story. 

To me the view of Angels and Demons in this story was kept very simple. Both the Angels as the Demons portray very human characteristics. In fact, both Julian as Serena live among humans and Serena even owns a yoga studio. It feels weird and unlike what we know of them in the first place. It also made me wonder how it works, because if everyone upon death either becomes a demon or an angel… where do they put everyone. Doesn’t the world get crowded?

While Where Demons Fear to Tread is not essentially a bad one, you have to like it to love it. It left me mostly feeling annoyed with a need to kick Serena hard and thump Nick on the head and tell him to: grow up. Julian is deliciously evil, just the right amount of evil to still keep him likable. 

So if you love a sweet romance between an Angel and a Demon, than this is the book for you! 


  1. Wow! This book is certainly making the rounds, and I love the cover, but if the main character is that annoying, I may wait to read this one later.

    Thanks for the insightful review. :)

  2. I felt the same way about Serena and Nick. Kudos to you for being able to finish the book. Serena was just too naive for me.

    Did it bug you she was taking on cases only after being an angel a year?

  3. I think I'm demon/angel/vampire/werewof - ed out. Just give me human people.

  4. I have a book called Where ANGELS Fear to Tread, but I think it's very different in theme ;-)

  5. What saved Serena for me was the fact that she had a brain and used it. She was nieve but not easily fooled either. To me that is what made this one different. So, I didn't find Serena as annoying as you did. I did enjoy Julian. He sounded Smexy. :)

  6. Great review! And I totally agree with you on Serena, so TSTL! The first quater really irked me and I almost tossed the book as a DNF but the last three quarters were good. Thankfully.

  7. Guardian angel and yoga teacher? Ok...

    The angels and demons thing doesn't interest me...

  8. Feeling annoyed is not something I like when I'm reading. It usually means that I have to force myself to continue on with a book that I'd much rather ditch.

  9. I've seen this book around, and I do love your insights on the characters and plotline of this book. Definitely adding it to my TBR :)

  10. Angels and demons are all over the place; but don't count the storyline out just yet as overdone. The last book I read and really, really loved used this particular trope but in a very unique and imaginative way.

  11. Hi B!

    Just finished this book, had about the same feeling. The ending is what irked me. I like my demons to stay demonic and Serena could have stayed with her demon lover....trying to reform him, but never quite succeeding, lol, it would have been a better tale, IMPO. It felt a little preaching, just right at the end.

    Dottie :)

  12. I kind of am not sure if I like the sound of this one really. You are right, Serena sounds too naive. Well if she is a human too, she should know better :)

  13. Missie: yes, I saw that too. It might be a good idea to wait yeah ;-)

    ABGR: good to know I wasn't alone in that. Oh yeah... that's just not how Angels work for me. Angels are not human to me and you can't become one after you die.

    Dana: hahaha well, some stories work for me, but i fear many of the vampires, werewolves, angels are becoming to human to me and less "monster" or paranormal being.

    Aarti: hahaha lol that's what I first wrote too :P

    Melissa: yeah i ocassionally liked that about her too, but it was often the combination with other things that made her annoying to me.

    VampFanGirl: same here. The beginning was annoying but at the end it picked up.

    Chris: nah it isn't your kind of book :-)

    Staci: yes, luckily it was the only book i had with me to an event, so i had to finish it.

    Melissa: thanks! I hope you like it!

    Stephanie: there are indeed some good one, but I also believe some themes or beings are better left alone.

    Thanks for the comments everyone! :-)

  14. I grew up on stories of myth, legends and stories from the bible where Angels and Demons are divine and devilish creatures. Especially Angels are glorious, divine, mystical and powerful creatures. It seems weird to humanize them and put them in romance books. At least, it seems to me.

    How did you manage to express my own feelings in such a great way, dear Lis? This is exactly how I feel about Angels and Demons - humanizing them, making them fall in love or fall in lust seems simply weird to me. Making them consort with Demons...well, just give me humans instead, as Dana said above, even in the same roles.

  15. I liked Serena but to me the book was made by the secondary characters. Lately I have had that happen a few times. I can't wait to see where this series heads :)

  16. Ooooo just saw this one over at Melissa's Book Boyfriend post and I have to say she's convinced me it might be worth a read. I'm glad to have read this review though, it's nice to know some of the downsides to a book going in, especially things like a main character's naivete.

  17. I agree, seems like angles and demons pop up more and more. I grew up with bible stories that made angels and demons seem divine and scary as you say.
    This doesnt sound like the book for me, but it does sound very interesting.

  18. You know I'm back and forth on the Angels & Demons thing. I like them, then I have a hard time with them. This one sounds like a nice romantice one. :) Thank you!

  19. The cover is gorgeous but Stephanie sounds a little too goody for me too.

  20. yes, lots of angels and demons stories about these days. but this one has an interesting premise of the two falling in love? come to think of it, are there any stories out there with a vampire and werewolf in love?

  21. Great review Lis. I've read more review about this book, and they all want to kick Serena.


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