The Devil in Disguise by Cynthia Eden (2016)
Do you know how I know Cynthia Eden is one of my favorite authors? She uses multi-POV in her novels, and generally speaking, I don’t like multi-POV narratives. But in Eden’s work, I don’t mind it. Considering I have walked away from many, many books written in multi-POV, that’s saying something. Plus, Eden’s books are always satisfying reads. I know exactly what I’m going to get, and she doesn’t disappoint. The Devil in Disguise is the first book in Eden’s paranormal romance series, Bad Things. If you’ve never read anything by Cynthia Eden and you like paranormal romance, this is a good entry point. As of this writing, The Devil in Disguise is free as an ebook on Amazon and it was also free when I initially downloaded the book about a year ago. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy contemporary paranormal romances with alpha heroes and smart heroines more than capable of taking care of themselves.
This is the story of Mina and Luke. Mina arrives in the story in the form of a femme fatale. Her goal is to find Luke Thorne and steal something from him by means of seduction. Mina’s power lies in her voice—she can infuse power in it that will make a person do exactly as she commands. It’s also clear from the beginning that Mina is running from something—or someone—and that stealing from Luke is an act of desperation and survival. Luke is the Lord of the Dark. He has an older twin brother, Leo, who is the Lord of the Light. The two are locked in an eternal, winner-take-all battle of good versus evil. Once Luke meets Mina, she becomes what he wants most, and the story throws every possible obstacle in his path. Luke’s character arc is one of change, where he must accept he’s capable of more than the evil deeds attributed to him. Mina and Luke are well-developed and likable characters, and I had no trouble getting invested in them as a couple. While Luke is definitely drawn in the mold of an alpha male protagonist, Mina is drawn as an equally powerful female protagonist. Mina and Luke both save themselves when they get into trouble, but they also save each other. The power dynamic flows both ways and that made reading their story even more satisfying.
As I mentioned earlier, the story is told from multiple POVs. If I had to guess, I’d say about 85-90% of the story is told through either Mina’s or Luke’s third-person POV, with the remaining 10-15% told through the antagonist’s POV and a small handful of scenes being narrated by some of the supporting characters. If you’re like me and don’t prefer multi-POV, know that the scenes told from a POV other than Mina’s or Luke’s won’t frustrate you (or maybe this only happens to me?) and are relatively short. The Devil in Disguise succeeds in balancing the action-adventure part of the story with the romance. It also begins to build a paranormal world that I want to return to in the future. Though it’s clear that each book in this series stands alone, this first book presents characters I would expect to see appear in future books, particularly Luke’s twin brother, Leo. In this world, some humans know of the existence of paranormals, and while the shadowy government organization created to either eliminate all paranormal creatures or use them in ways that are designed to make the reader question who is really the monster is a cliched convention of the genre, I didn’t find myself losing patience with the convention itself. The antagonist of the novel was developed well enough that he doesn’t read as a cardboard character or plot device. I also liked that the author takes care to make the antagonist feel like a legitimate threat. Eden delivers an antagonist who poses believable opposition to Mina and Luke getting what they want most, and this in turn gives the story real tension and conflict that made me want to keep turning the pages.
This year, I have found myself gravitating a little more toward paranormal romance and paranormal romantic suspense. I got exactly what I came for from The Devil in Disguise, and I’m ready to read another book in this series (I have had the fifth book, Heart of Stone, on my kindle for some time, so it will likely be the next one I read). If you’re looking for a paranormal romance with a good story and likable characters you can get invested in, add The Devil in Disguise to your to-be-read list. It’s a relatively light read but sometimes that’s exactly what you need to escape from everyday life.
Have you read The Devil in Disguise or any other books by Cynthia Eden? What did you think?