Following Dark Star (2012), a new demon in town named Susannah is looking for the girl with the power to open pathways to the Beneath, and the threat strains Audrey’s relationship.
Audrey’s boyfriend, Leon, is her Guardian, meaning he is mystically bound to protect her and has been granted magic abilities to do so—chiefly, he can sense when she is in danger and teleport to save her. That’s why it’s concerning when Audrey has an encounter with a group of Harrowers led by Susannah and Leon doesn’t show. Luckily for Audrey, a newly arrived Guardian hunting Susannah saves her. While the Guardians do their best to counter the new demonic threat, Audrey does not disclose the episode and the bond issues with Leon it implies. When Leon finds out, he too decides to keep the magical malfunction secret, concluding that Audrey is the source of the bond disruption. Audrey’s desire to keep him safe keeps them ignorant of the dangers she’s facing; luckily, her own powers are growing. Against this relationship drama, Audrey’s two best friends pursue interesting subplots, Susannah launches a series of testing attacks against the Guardians, and Audrey’s mother, more like Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters than the superhero Audrey’s narration promises, fights no crime. The plot’s uneven, but dialogue and characters are strong. In the last 50 pages or so, the story really comes to life for those readers patient enough to have made it through the first 290.
A demon-hunting fix for readers who can forgive page-padding. (Urban fantasy. 12-16)