ARC Review: Delivering Evil for Experts - Annette Marie

Delivering Evil for Experts by Annette Marie

Series: The Guild Codex: Demonized #3
My rating: {★★★★★}

Urban Fantasy
Published October 16th 2020 by Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.

Source: Review copy via Publisher
I promised to avenge my parents.

But their killer is still on the loose, and he's stolen more than my parents' lives. Now, as he draws closer to his mysterious goals, he's poised to destroy what little I have left.

I promised to translate an ancient grimoire.

But it holds the secrets of my family—and the secret history of demon summoning. I fear its answers as much as I need them. Who was the foremother of Demonica…and who am I?

I promised to send my demon home.

But the way he watches me, the way he protects me, the way he touches me⁠—how can I cast him away forever? I swore I would do this for him, but can I? Should I?

But I promised—and I will keep my promises even if they cost me my heart, my soul, and my life.
**I voluntarily read and reviewed a review copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes were taken from the advanced readers copy and as such may not be accurate or present in the final version**

This was probably my most anticipated read of 2020 AND IT DID NOT DISSAPPOINT. In fact, I think I'll have to dive back in for a reread sooner rather than later so that I can wallow just a little longer and very hopefully delay the inevitable book hangover that the end of this magnificent series is going to bring me.

But I ask you this, daughter of my daughter, honorable scribe, survivor, sorceress: When will it end?
Three millennia after Melitta had asked, I had the answer. It would end with me.

I cannot believe that at the beginning of 'The Guild Codex' journey I was so worried that I wouldn't click with this world. Firstly, I was worried that Urban Fantasy wasn't a go to genre for me (side note, it is now...). I was also worried that I wouldn't be able to love yet another Annette Marie series the way I loved Steel and Stone and Red Winter (spoiler alert, I can!) and when I heard the news about a spin off about the mysterious new Demon contractor on the block, Robin Page I was again nervous but also intrigued to know more about this quiet, timid girl who looked dressed more for a book fair than combat with an unbound demon.

Needless to say, all my worries were knocked out of the park entirely and I found myself head over heels for the new characters, the new relationships and the new plot.

I cannot say how Annette managed this one, but the plots of Spellbound and Demonized merge so seamlessly and yet they really do manage to stand on their own as well. While you can technically read both series completely separately, the enjoyment is just that much more when you read them together, and so I can't actually recommend anything but devouring all the books. More Guild Codex world, more POVs, more knowledge on the workings of the universe and more world building!

Something I love about Annette Marie and definitely about this series in particular is that I couldn't guess where it was going. Robin and Zylas had to follow their full paths and even though I might have been partially dying through some of it, I loved both of their character arcs and I couldn't have asked for a better finale for them. Their characters remained true to themselves, no matter what and even if I might have wished so hard for them to have made different decisions, I couldn't actually imagine them choosing any other way.

This one got pretty intense on the demon dimension world building (which I was totally there for! I couldn't wait to learn more about Zylas' home!) and yet still managed to stick to the original timeline from Damned Souls and a Sangria (which at some stages I was wondering how on Earth they would make it!). I loved the elaboration on the 'weightlifting' scene and I also loved seeing the major battle at the Crow and Hammer from Robin and Zylas' eyes.

The focus of Demonized is the secretive and well guarded mythic class of Demonica, related to demon summoning and contracting. The added insights into the effects that this has had on their world, their politics and even their very natures adds so much depth and complexity to this series.

Most of all though, what I love the most about this series is the characters and their relationships. The way the relationships are constantly challenged, the dynamics constantly shifting the way they might in real life. Seeing how the characters cope with those changes and how they adapt just makes them even more real to me.

“We’d saved each other. Not just on that horrific afternoon when we’d formed our contract, but before that, when I’d given him life-sustaining food and he’d distracted me from my overwhelming grief and loneliness. And after that— every day after that, we’d been protecting each other in our own way.

My only real complaint was that I wished that I could have seen a little more showcasing of the friendship between Robin and Amalia: I'm always there for women supporting women and strong female friendships. Yes, I do realise that there was action stuffed into each and every chapter, and yes, I do realise that these characters were in the most epic finale of all time and yes! I also realise that I probably wouldn't have had enough with even another three hundred pages! But I feel I have to be brutally honest, even about the smallest things.

After so many books and so many crazy adventures with these characters from Spellbound and Demonized, there's a gaping hole in my life now that both of these series have come to their conclusions. Thankfully there is still Warped (with a new book coming in December!) to look forward to, and the announcement about the Unveiled series (starring my favourite Druid!). Even with all the upcoming excitement, Robin and Zylas will always hold a very special place in my heart, and I know that I'll revisit their books time and time again to recapture their magic and to spend some more time with some of my favourite characters of all time.

It's a crazy journey with so many highs and lows. The characters are challenged and tested and tested again. This finale was the epic conclusion that I'd hoped and dreamed about for my favourites and I can only hope you love it as much as I did. It might not end the way you want or expect it to, but it is a an epic, epic finale.

"Among demons, losing meant death. Zylas might not always win, but he never lost. But tonight, we’d either succeed or we’d die. Victory or death."


Recent Reads:

The Broken Destiny
Adulthood Is a Myth: A
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
Throne of Jade
Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary
Stress-Free Potty Training: A Commonsense Guide to Finding the Right Approach for Your Child
Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween
Amanzimtoti: The Ridge
The Curse of the Bruel Coven
Buzz Books 2016: Young Adult Fall/Winter
The Crown
A Court of Mist and Fury
Cruel Crown
A Court of Thorns and Roses

Di's favorite books »