Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review - The Demon Calumnius by Samantha Johns

The Demon Calumnius 
(The Repentant Demon, #1)
by Samantha Johns
Published 2013

145 Pages

It’s not often I come by a read that presents an interesting, and dare I say, refreshing premise. The first book of Samantha Johns' Repentant Demon Trilogy sincerely represents something that I could never have envisioned.

To explain my thoughts I must confess that, for a short bit of my youth, I played Dungeons & Dragons... a lot. Almost every game involved nefarious and downright evil things, not entirely limited to dragons, ghosts, monsters of disrespect (often beginning with the word dire in some form--i.e., Dire Wraith, or Dire Wolf), and of course, demons and devils. From Lamashtu to Belphegor, the demons of our games were always evil. As vile as we could come up with, our demons would cause nothing but trouble when they were encountered. Chaos was their last name and lord to heaven, they embroiled in it, much to my counterparts and my dismay.

Now, it’s always of interest to me to read a book surrounding something with a deep religious aspect, and even more so when it involves ancient forces and those who try to circumvent the normal. The Demon Calumnius is, as I began to read, a good Demon; that is, he is good at corruption and the maleficence towards purity of spirit and piety of soul. And for the first part of the book, he stays true to form -- or at least, he tries. 

Throughout the read, while following the adventure of a rather lovely red-haired Abigail (an apparently very feminine woman), Calumnius begins to question his own very nature. He wishes to corrupt her. He wishes to bring her down, as that would be a tremendous accomplishment for a demon of his stature. But he also has impure thoughts and hesitations. As the situation for our lovely women changes, Calumnius begins to change with her. 

When Abigail travels to Iraq for an archeological dig, along with a handsome and charming partner, the demon tries once again to find an opportunity to plant a seed of disgrace, hoping she will follow his carefully planned path to corruption. But things take a different course. She stays briefly with a lovely Christian family in the heart of one of the most dangerous places on earth, whilst the adventure unfolds, which includes a run in with a sandstorm and other unexpected events. 

To the credit of Samantha Johns, the idea of a Christian family of Middle Eastern decent is a rather bold move. When I think of Persia, I think of Islam. As an educated individual, who has been to Israel, I am deeply aware of Christianity running like a vein through the Middle East. But this is the first time I've read a book where the religious undertones are explored in such a unique and interesting way.

Without giving too much away, I can report that Abigail’s handsome friend is used as a trigger point for Calumnius in a rather graphic (and enjoyable, I might add) way. After understanding what happened to Abigail’s friend, the demon wants to change, wants to repent -- so the Calumnius prays. That alone would be enough to cause turmoil of epic proportions in the games from my youth. A demon praying? And yes, someone is listening to his prayers, and for Calumnius, everything changes. I will say no more.

Reading the book, I began to sense the direction the undertones were taking me. Subt
le at first, the characters were all serving to present a larger plan for Calumnius. Although it did bog down a bit from time to time, overall the story was well paced and easy to follow. The ending felt like a pseudo climax -- it absolutely felt as though there was more to the story, for which I hope will be expanded upon in the chapters to come. 

Available on Amazon

Reviewed by Matt


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