Demon Riding Shotgun
by L. R. Braden
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Pub Date 30 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 19 Oct 2022
Possessed by a demon since she was eleven years old, Mira Fuentes maintains a fragile alliance with the snarky soul who shares her body. Together they hunt down unstable Rifters— demon-controlled humans bent on causing chaos in the mortal realm. But when a routine hunt leads to a powerful Rifter with plans for Baltimore, Mira quickly finds herself in over her head and at the top of the city's Most Wanted.
Recently retired from the PTF after losing his partner, Ty Williams now works for the Baltimore PD and keeps his distance from cases involving magic. But when a person dies of clearly magical causes and the PTF doesn't have any agents to spare, Ty is the closest thing the department has to an expert. Saddled with a new partner he doesn't want and a mountain of self-doubt, it's his job to track down a suspect who looks suspiciously like the one-night-stand he brought home from the bar last night.
Mira will have to set her trust issues aside and enlist the help of a man determined to uncover her secrets if she hopes to learn the identity of the demon's host and prevent the human race from becoming meat puppets for the denizens of the Rift.
On COURTING DARKNESS: "This book was a fantastic second installment to the Magicsmith series… Truly brilliant writing!"—Richelle Rodarte, NetGalley Reviewer
"The plot was engrossing, fascinating and action-filled."—Pam Guynn, NetGalley Reviewer on Faerie Forged
About the Author: L. R. BRADEN is the bestselling author of the Magicsmith urban fantasy series. Her work has won the Eric Hoffer Book Award for Sci-Fi/Fantasy, the New Horizon Award for debut authors, and the Imadjinn Award for Best Urban Fantasy. She and her family live in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies, where she spends her time writing, playing, and weaving metal into intricate chainmail jewelry.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 33 members
I loved this book. It was fast paced and magic filled. So engrossing, I sped right through it. Fantastic thriller with a massive twisty I did not see coming. At. All. Superb writing by this author for that alone. Mira is a badass heroine, Ty the cop who needs to trust her. The side characters were spot on, the villain....hoo boy. I recommend this book to everyone who likes the genre. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book from Netgalley.
This book is set in the same world as the authors Magicsmith series although its not the Fae that dominate here but actually Demons ! Mira has shared her body with a Demon since she came into her powers as a child and now together to survive they hunt down the Rifters who prey upon humans. Whilst staking out a Rifter Mira spots someone else who it seems just might know more about why she has survived and not burned up after being possessed. Mira is about to discover that she's not the only human who can successfully ride along with a Demon symbiot but it's not safe for Mira as those in power want to contain and ultimately lock her up !
I thoroughly enjoyed this and if you enjoy urban fantasy than I wholeheartedly recommend this author and her work. With characters that leap off the page and unique world building her books are exciting, entertaining and just such fun to read.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
It’s a police/detective story where demons, fae and magic are added to the mix. There is nothing particularly new about this specific story; so if you like that style of story, this should hit the sweet spot. The story opens with a demon possessed vigilante hunting another ‘rifter' that was killing innocents; but Mira is something different, having obtained a working balance with her demon (who can periodically take charge of her body and carry on amusing conversations) where most simple go nuts and burn away. When the party is interrupted by a second rifter, we begin to see a developing conspiracy among the demons that doesn’t sound good the home team humans … unfortunately the incident draws the attention of the Baltimore PD and a washed up paranormal cop who also happened to have been her demon’s one night-stand (with her body of course). What follows is a bit of a cat and mouse game with the demon spawn and “Mr Yummy” while the hero attempts to find the big bad while remaining in the shadows … because bad things happen when the authorities get their hands on an unregistered [magic] practitioner, much less something that should not even exist (a stable rifter). Ultimately this was a fun diversion that kept me up passed midnight as I read through to the end. I look forward to the next installment.
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
I really enjoyed this book. This author is one I have come to know as always delivering a unique story. Mira should be.self.surviving. She is anything but. Her story is one of conflict and survival. The ending was not what I was expecting and I like that.
I LOVED this book. It’s got fun. It’s got depth. It’s definitely going to stick with me. It’s going to hard to do it justice in a review, but here goes. The premise, characters, and world are unique and compelling. There are a couple of trigger warnings (see end of review), but nothing graphic or extreme.
Mira’s not normal for a human. The demon she shares a body with is no normal demon. It’s an unlikely partnership, but it works. Mira is a rifter, a human possessed by a demon. But unlike other rifters, Mira and her demon found a way to share a body for years without it being destroyed by the strain of housing a demon. Unlike other demons, Mira’s demon is happy to let her remain in control of her body whenever possible. Mira’s demon is just interested in helping Mira, protecting the two of them, and bringing murder and mayhem to the demons on Earth that are hurting humans. It’s a strange partnership and an even stranger friendship.
Mira and her demon have numerous mental conversations throughout the book. They’re always interesting and Braden avoids confusion by showing Mira’s thoughts in italics and the demon’s thoughts enclose by < > symbols. Mira and her demon also have have distinctly different voices, speech patterns, and personalities. They’re both snarky and sarcastic, but with completely different styles.
Mira is a practitioner (of magic), with a big power boost courtesy of her demon. Mira’s powers are imaginative, vividly described, and just downright cool. Example: “Wiggling her fingers Mira grabbed hold of a shadow and pulled it around her like a cape.” Coolest camouflage ever. Her powers are far from absolute and they come with plenty of catches. With great power comes great danger if you lose control. She uses their powers to help people, protect people, and protect herself. To do this, she hunts demons who hurt innocents. Officially, she’s a normal PI. The world is not friendly to practitioners, and it’s certainly worse for rifters. But Mira’s tough, but lonely. Mira’s past has left her a bit of a cynic, but she never gives up fighting for what’s right.
Mira’s demon chose her because she’s a fighter with a good heart who will risks herself to protect others. This demon first found young Mira in trouble and came to her aid. It’s not like the demon isn’t getting plenty out of the deal. She found a rare human that is not only moral and trustworthy, but is also compatible, capable and willing to live as a joined creature, two consciousnesses sharing one body. A good match for a demon with a (metaphorically) good heart hidden behind snark and sarcasm. I’m pretty sure Mira’s demon is secretly a bit of a romantic and optimist.
Mira’s demon is just that: hers. Her partner. Her friend. Loyal to her. Concerned not just with Mira’s survival, but her happiness. Mira and her demon genuinely care about each other, treat each other as equals, and know each other better than anyone.
The other major character is Detective Ty Williams: a copy who doesn’t trust his instincts after losing his last partner. When Mira becomes a suspect, Ty must decide whether to trust his instincts and believe Mira is trying to stop the real bad guys. Ty’s intuition, confusion, grief, guilt, and drive to do good are raw and compelling. He clearly struggles with PTSD, but he’s never portrayed as weak or incompetent because of it. In fact, it highlights just how strong and skilled he is.
I grew to love Mira, her demon, and Ty for their depth of character, bravery, intelligence, and uniqueness. Every mistake they made only made me love them more.
A routine demon hunt puts Mira and her demon on the trail of a sinister plot brewing in Baltimore. This investigation soon gets Mira wanted by the police. How could she run away when people could be in danger from this mysterious sinister plot? The mysteries in this book will have you on the edge of your seat.
As a spin off from the Magicsmith series, this book is set in a fully-realized world with a well developed magic system and history. However, this series-starter definitely delves boldly into new conflicts and uncharted waters. I didn’t read the Magicsmith series before reading this and had no problems, so this new series can definitely stand on its own. Although after reading this book, I’m eager to dig into the Magicsmith series set in the same universe!
This tale was told with fantastic imagery without slowing the story down. I was able to picture just about everything that happened. The pacing of this book was perfect, which is very rare. Things are constantly moving and never rushed. The plot has plenty of great twists and turns. The ending is satisfying, mostly happy, unpredictable, believable, and sets things up for the next book. I eagerly await the next books with excitement and anxious hope that they are just as good as this one.
THE THINGS THAT BUGGED ME (AT FIRST):
** minor spoilers ahead **
There were a couple things in this book I had some qualms about and kept bugging me. But then I realized that supposed to. Things aren’t supposed to be black and white, simple, or easy in this book. They’re supposed to be murky. These things were supposed to be problematic.
Here’s the first thing that bugged me: The Mira and the demon have an agreement to take turns choosing how they burn off the energy they need to get Mira back in the driver’s seat after a big power-boost. The demon always chooses a one night stand and Mira chooses exercise. The demon having sex in Mira’s body that she technically agreed to but isn’t thrilled about isn’t exactly the picture of freely given consent. Mira also takes risks that could kill them both to help others with her demon only half on-board with the plan. I think these things are supposed to be problematic. Things are morally dubious and complex when you have two distinct entities sharing a body, even voluntarily. The consciousness in the driver’s seat is always making decisions for the other party that could affect them both. Even with permission from the party not in control, it’s not exactly freely given consent.
Here’s the second thing: For each possessed human that dies when Mira kills the demon possessing them, she makes a cut on her leg, prays, and deliberately doesn’t heal it in order to leave a scar as some sort of penance. She does this even knowing that the demonic possession would surely have killed the human eventually. She does this despite her demon’s very concerned objections. (Notice the demon preserves her free will and lets her make her own choices, even bad ones). This definitely is not portrayed as healthy behavior, but as a sign of the toll that guilt and past trauma have taken on Mira. This adds a layer of darkness to a book with an ultimately hopeful message. I hope to see Mira find enough peace to kick this unhealthy coping mechanism in future books.
This things that bothered me at first turned out to give the story moral complexity and depth and create a world full of shades of grey. A world where both darkness and hope can coexist in a story, just like they so often do in the real world.
** end of minor spoilers **
Warnings: self-harm (with no suicidal intent), sex (1 scene only, not very graphic). The content of these warnings is further discussed above in the THE THINGS THAT BUGGED ME (AT FIRST) section.
Thanks to Bell Bridge Books and NetGalley for a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
I quite enjoyed this author’s Magicsmith series, so I was excited for this new novel set in the same universe. Mira, the main character, had a small part in the first series, but one of the reasons I loved this book was that you don’t need to have read the previous series to enjoy this one fully. Mira is also not your standard character, and she has her flaws. Ty is the same. I loved how there was a slow buildup with Mira and Ty, and how we followed both of their stories in parallel. I know this is supposed to be a standalone, but I really, really hope the author changes her mind because there is so much potential in this world, and I would love to see more. Well-written urban fantasy leaving you wanting more. Highly recommend. I was provided a complimentary copy which I voluntarily reviewed.
Demon riding shotgun by L.R Braden.
Possessed by a demon since she was eleven years old, Mira Fuentes maintains a fragile alliance with the snarky soul who shares her body. Together they hunt down unstable Rifters-- demon-controlled humans bent on causing chaos in the mortal realm. But when a routine hunt leads to a powerful Rifter with plans for Baltimore, Mira quickly finds herself in over her head and at the top of the city's Most Wanted.
I really enjoyed this book. Brilliant. I loved the story. I loved Miras character. 5*.
Demon Riding Shotgun, by author L.R. Braden, is a story that takes place after the events of, Of Mettle and Magic. In this world, Demons dwell in the Rift which is chaotic energy that connects all the realms. Demons can't manifest without a physical body and that's when a Rifter is created. Mira Fuentes is a rifter, a human possessed by a demon. But unlike other rifters, Mira and her demon found a way to share a body since she was 11 years old without it being destroyed. The demon preserves her free will and lets her make her own choices, even bad ones.
Mira and her demon have a symbiotic relationship which shows with a bit of humorous dialogue along the way. One of the more curiouser aspects of Mira is the fact that she prays using a variety of prayers while also making cuts in her skin to keep track of all the lives that she's taken trying to free humans from demon possession. The author reminds readers that Mira played an important part in the final battle that took place in Baltimore. Now, we return to the same city where Mira is tracking down Riders who managed to escape.
The story really takes off when a routine hunt leads to a powerful Rifter with plans for Baltimore. Mira quickly finds herself in over her head and at the top of the city's Most Wanted after being involved in two incidents. Enter Ty Williams formerly of the PTF (Paranormal Task Force) who left the job after losing his partner and is now a Detective in the Baltimore Police Department. When a person dies of magical causes and the PTF doesn't have any agents to spare thanks to the events of Of Mettle and Magic and its sorcerers being sidelined, Ty is the closest thing the department has to an expert.
Saddled with a new partner he doesn't want and a mountain of self-doubt, it's his job to track down a suspect who looks suspiciously like the one-night-stand he brought home from the bar last night. Ty must decide whether to trust his instincts and believe Mira is trying to stop the real bad guys. Ty’s intuition, confusion, grief, guilt, and drive to do good are raw and compelling. He clearly struggles with PTSD, magic, small places and unnecessary partners, but he’s never portrayed as weak or incompetent because of it.
This was an entertaining story and I wouldn't be shocked if the author kept this world going with new characters. Especially after what happened to Alex and her friends at the end of Of Mettle and Magic.
Through NetGalley, I received a free copy of DEMON RIDING SHOTGUN (Book 1 of the MagicSmith Universe Novels), by L.R. Braden, in exchange for an honest review. Mira Fuentes is unique. She’s survived being constantly possessed by a demon since she was eleven years old; most demon possessions end quickly with the rapid deterioration and death of the host. Mira and her demon have managed to form a precarious balance and maintain it by hunting down and dining upon those unstable demon-controlled humans. Mira stumbles upon a nefarious demonic plot and determines she needs to thwart the evil plan and to save the world. Mira’s illegal, and arguably murderous, antics come to the attention of Baltimore Police Department officer Ty Williams. From then on, Mira is being hunted by the law as she seeks answers. Mira may have to make a leap of faith in order to achieve her goals.
I like the Magic Smith series and was excited to see another book by this author. It was a solid start to a newish series.
I like. I like a lot. AND I'm from Balitmore so ..... BONUS! Great new series, intriguing characters, excellent world and character building! Looking forward to more!
I really liked reading this spin-off story featuring Mira. We got her back story in this book. I knew she was a badass in “Of Magic and Mettle” when she helped Alex learn more about her practitioner magic but I didn’t know that she tracks down and kills other rifters that are harming humans. In this story, Mira uncovers a sinister plot by some rifters, who like her, have managed not to burn out. She has to find a way to stop their plot without getting captured by the PTF for being un unregistered practitioner. Along the way she meets handsome and sexy, Ty Williams, an officer with the Baltimore PD, Ty used to work for the PTF but after a tragic accident in which his partner was killed, wants nothing to do with magic or paranormal beings. Will he assist her or take her into custody? I really like the Magicsmith series and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am looking forward to the next book in this spin-off series. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
I received an ARC from Netgalley. This is my honest review.
As a big fan of the author's Magicsmith series, I didn't realize that this book is a spinoff of that series
Although it's not necessary to do so, understanding of the world created by Braden would be enhanced by reading at least the first Magicsmith book as the author doesn't spend as much time here world building.
The book takes place in the same world as Magicsmith but the location has switched from Colorado to Maryland
The MC is an oddity. Although she's possessed by a demon and is a rifter, the demon and human share consciousness. The sharing means that the MC is more humane than normal rifters
The plot was a basic detective mystery with few surprises. However, Braden is adept at creating lonely, broken characters that are highly relateable and leave us wanting to know more qbout them.
Think of "Venom" but a girl and a demon and even more attitude and sarcasm - and consuming evil demons and thwarting those wanting to take over the Earth! Hey, plus maybe a little romance just to keep things even more interesting. Loved it and when it ended definitely wanted more! Hope these characters return - often!
A big thank you to NetGalley and Bell Bridge Books for the ARC. I am voluntarily reviewing this book. This is a new author for me. I really enjoyed this book, it was an unexpected surprise. The world, the characters, it was all intriguing and fun. I would highly recommend this book. 4 stars
Thank you Netgalley for the ARC. I really liked the original series that this spun off from. I didn't realize at first that it was but the author did a good job of linking it. I was excited to get to read this as the author is good with writing believable characters and situations. I found that I wasn't as vested in the characters and the story though. There are some situations that I had problems with that made it hard to continue to the finish. The relationship she has with the demon she has can be questionable at times and her interactions with her partner kind of left me flat. I really didn't like how she chooses to deal with her feelings about what she is doing.
Demon Riding Shotgun is packed with intrigue, magic, thrilling action, and multifaceted characters.
Mira shares her body and soul with a demon and the two of them have a fragile co-existence going on. They have made it their mission to hunt down and destroy Rifters, humans possessed by demons who go around causing chaos wherever they go. In Baltimore Mira runs up against an immensely powerful Rifter and finds herself in the crosshairs of the local law.
Ty wants nothing to do with magic after his PTF partner died. But the PTF is still struggling to get back on their feet and Ty is the Baltimore PD’s only cop with magical experience. He is hellbent on capturing Mira but it turns out things are not what they seem to be.
Mira and her demon were super interesting. They talked to each other all the time and sometimes the demon got to have control of the body, but mostly it was Mira in charge. This is where the title of the book comes in. The two of them have been alone for so long, it was hard for Mira to work with Ty to rid the world of the dangerous Rifter.
Ty started out bundling all magic users together, they are bad news and should be stopped. But the more he tracked Mira, the more he realized things are not as black and white as he’d like to think they are. He was very thorough in his investigation, despite his aversion to anything magic related. Ty has severe PTSD from his experiences with the PTF and the book described that quite deftly. I really felt Ty’s pain.
This is a spin-off of the Magicsmith series, which I also loved. You don’t have to read that series first, but the world will make a lot more sense if you do. This book has completely new characters and a new direction.
Ty and Mira are both interesting and complex. Each has their own set of secrets and pain and their development throughout was skillfully done. This book also has the same exciting writing and nail-biting action that I’ve come to expect through the Magicsmith series.
I can definitely recommend this if you like fantasy. There is romance, but it’s not super steamy and it’s not the main focus of the book.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Demon Riding Shotgun by L. R. Braden, a good entry into a new series, Looking forward to more in this series.
This is the Author's latest 'Urban Fantasy book set in her Magicsmith universes
The previous Magicsmith books have mainly featured the Fae but this new series features Demons and are set in different area and city .
To save her life at 11years of age Mira shared her body with a demon ................. now they use their combined powers to hunt down Rifters preying on humans . When a routine hunt leads to the discovery of an extremely powerful
Rifter who has his own plans for Baltimore , Mira has to reassess her priorities .......... can she fully utilise her powers without killing herself or her demon and keep herself free from the Authorities who have added her to their most wanted list or will the powers be too much for her human body ....... she is in over her head !
This is an enjoyable , fast paced book , full of twists and turns - I look forward to the next in the series
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Demon Riding Shotgun was a welcome surprise to my reading world. This is a perfect example of what fantastic world building should be. This is a very intricate world with lots of different take on Legends and lore that many readers are thoroughly familiar with. Author L.R. Braden shows that she has an imagination and is able to pen an intricate story that keeps readers highly involved. I will say that this may not be the easiest of reads but it is a highly enjoyable one. After a few chapters you will see the author style of showing you the difference in the internal dialogue between our main character and her demon riding along with her.
This is not my usual cup of tea story but I will say it was quite enjoyable.
I felt this book had a totally different feel from the Magicsmith series which has its pluses and minuses. I kind of miss all the the paranormal characters, but on the other hand it's good it has its own identity so one doesn't feel like they're reading the "same old, same old". Magicsmith was more fantasy and Demon is more paranormal suspense..
I liked Mira and finding out her backstory, then the action really kicked in and included a surprise.
I was a tad disappointed is the demon, which appears to be nameless unless I missed it. The demon just seemed too human.
I'm looking forward to the next book featuring Mira.
I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
I like this series and this was one of the best instalment: fast paced, highly entertaining, and gripping.
The world building and the character development are as good as always, the storytelling kept me reading.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Demon Riding Shotgun is part of the world from the Magicsmith series by L. R. Braden. This book does refer to events in the previous books, and has characters returning readers will recognize, but new readers could pick up the story line here fairly easily.
Possessed by a demon since she was eleven years old, Mira Fuentes maintains a fragile alliance with the snarky soul who shares her body. Together they hunt down unstable Rifters— demon-controlled humans bent on causing chaos in the mortal realm. But when a routine hunt leads to a powerful Rifter with plans for Baltimore, Mira quickly finds herself in over her head and at the top of the city's Most Wanted. Recently retired from the PTF after losing his partner, Ty Williams now works for the Baltimore PD and keeps his distance from cases involving magic. But when a person dies of clearly magical causes and the PTF doesn't have any agents to spare, Ty is the closest thing the department has to an expert. Saddled with a new partner he doesn't want and a mountain of self-doubt, it's his job to track down a suspect who looks suspiciously like the one-night-stand he brought home from the bar last night. Mira will have to set her trust issues aside and enlist the help of a man determined to uncover her secrets if she hopes to learn the identity of the demon's host and prevent the human race from becoming meat puppets for the denizens of the Rift.
Demon Riding Shotgun is a book that takes the Magicsmith universe and runs with great characters and a fresh angle. I enjoyed getting to see more of Mira, since she had peaked my curiosity in the previous books. I thought Mira, Ty, and the secondary characters were all dynamic and well crafted. The individual trauma and hang ups will be continuous factors and how they have been handled thus far has been fantastic, and I am eager to see how they shape the future of the characters and adventures to come. I will admit that I saw a twist or two coming pretty far off, but I enjoyed the ride. I thought the balance of explaining the world to newcomers and refreshing details to returning readers was very well done, and I never really felt like there were information dumps to slog through, which can sometimes happen in fantasy. I like the direction this story arc is going and I can see great potential for action, mystery, romance, and some serious character development as the series continues. I am intrigued by Mira and want to see so much more of here interacting with Ty- and how he copes with everything.
Demon Riding Shotgun is a great start to a new story arc and I am excited to see where it takes me.
I really liked the Magicsmith series, I didn't realize that this book was a spinoff of that series until I started reading. The world building was amazing and we got to know Mira’s backstory. I loved the dynamic between Mira and her demon. Very entertaining read!
I received a free copy of DEMON RIDING SHOTGUN by L.R. Braden, in exchange for an honest review.
When law enforcement is overwhelmed with the supernatural, the supernaturals have to take care of it themselves - especially when demons are up to their mischief and possessing people. Mira hunts on her own - and is hounded by the police for it.
In the conflict between law and justice, she meets a detective who doesn't really want to know anything more about the supernatural side.
I am a die hard fan of the Magicsmith series... So I was incredibly excited to read a new and hands-down equally engrossing story in the Magicsmith realm. Mira is a gritty kickass MC who has been aware of and living in the shadows of the non-human world most of her life. She was possesed by a demon at the age of eleven and I absolutely love the inner dialog with her inner demon.
I truly loved the uneasy alliance formed with Ty. Although they both had reservations about the partnership they made an amazingly affective team. I truly hope to see more of Ty and Mira this was a wonderful glimpse into a beloved world for me. I hope to see more from them and dare I say other Magicsmith characters.
I'm dying for more of this world it is incredibly compelling with vivid world-building and fasinating well developed characters! This is a must read! And if you haven't checked it out delve into the Magicsmith universe it's incredible you won't regret it!!!
Had a little problem getting into this book. Started strong and then for me the story lagged after the initial bang. I kept through it though as I’ve often found it pays off. This was one of those instances. Plus the lead character Mira and her demon are really likeable in their fallibility. The only part of the story that didn’t feel natural is the first time Garrett’s character and Mira’s conversation with him appear in this book. That part of the plot is needed to make the story but the way it was written made me feel like it was an after thought. That was so minor though and the book and story pulled through in the end with a strong resolution and why I think it rates 4 stars.
I haven't read any of the Magicsmith series (or realized that I was starting a spin-off), but this was a great novel and stood alone just fine. The world building and plot were straightforward, but unique and compelling. Told in a duology, both characters were nuanced and fascinating with overlapping timelines that added a push to the plot that kept it moving quickly forward. This was a fun but propulsive story. I can't wait for more (and need to go back and read the previous books).
I'm a fan of this author and was looking forward to this book. I was not disappointed! It reminds me of the work of Ilona Andrews, which I also love, with expansive world building and powerful characters. Mira may be possessed by a demon but she maintains her spirituality and humanity. Ty, a police detective with a history of working on a supernatural task force, has suffered loss and struggles with believing in himself. Their relationship grew and changed throughout the book and has plenty of potential. I loved this book and look forward to more adventures. I read this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Please tell me the end of Demon Riding Shotgun means author LA. Braden realised she has gold on her hands and- hopefully - 10 new book ideas in her head where main character Mira plays 'angel' with her demon?!
As you've gathered from that very first sentence, yes, I'm quite enamoured by this standalone that was -in a way - a follow up of the “Magicsmith series”. A series I haven't read by the way, but certain mentions of Demon Riding Shotgun's magic history - like a Fae War and its human casualties, and human magic practitioners suddenly being treated like terrorists - made me realise I was definitely missing some background info. And, yup. GoodReads provided title & info of an earlier Braden series about exactly that :).
While I noticed those mentions as rather particular and thus probably as part of the same universe, you don't need to read Magicsmith before you can start Demon Riding Shotgun. It is indeed the promised stand- alone. And trust me, if you're new to L.A Braden, that's excellent news. You can start right away and lose yourself in the story.
Losing myself in the story is exactly what I did; from the very first page. The best books – not a guarantee, but still - usually draw you in the moment you start reading. It only takes a few paragraphs to know who and what our bad-ass main character is and often a mere chapter to discover the beginnings of the possible mess she finds herself in – also known as the plot. Demon Riding Shotgun, an Urban Fantasy novel with a tiny touch of romance by price-winning author L.A. Braden does that too. And in this case it IS a guarantee.
I was hooked from the get go, and am not ashamed to say I was inwardly yelling - and even groaning out loud- things like "Ooooh SH*T!”, “ Yes, take thàt! ", “Dang, this is going to bite her in the tight denim clad behind!”, or "How could you be so stupid!??” In other words: I was thoroughly invested in Mira Fuentes trying to hunt evil, while being on the run herself. The story is so action-packed without becoming 'been there, done that', I would be surprised if you, like myself, didn't try to read this novel in one go...forgetting (or ignoring) you needed to pee.
[Mira (and) who?]
What's it all about? Mira Fuentes gets possessed by a female demon at age 11. Afraid to hurt her family as a newly minted rifter she runs away. As soon as she's more in control of her powers and turns out to be “balanced”, she occupies her time with saving humanity from evil. More specifically, she has been tracking other demon-possessed ever since. Rifters who aren't “balanced”, nor have a moral compass. While their body is decaying they cause chaos and kill.
When she unexpectedly encounters a very powerful rifter with scary plans for the city, Mira (and her sarcastic second soul) soon finds herself in huge trouble. She has no idea how to stop her adversary and while only trying to help SHE is suddenly on the Most Wanted list.
The core part of Mira's magic and why she is who she is and does what she does, is the Demon possession. You expect an anger, a bitterness towards the demon and a possible self- hate now that she's no longer the girl she was. While some blame gets pushed around, this is actually not what the author shows.
What I particularly enjoyed in Demon Riding Shotgun is the bond between the two, specifically the constant banter between Mira and her demon lifter. They've become bff's of a sort and Miss Demon's snarky remarks about Mira's behaviour - even in or directly after dangerous situations - had me both chuckle AND embrace both 'women'.
Mira is damaged as a result of her childhood, all the years alone where she practically lived on the fringes of society – scared to be caught as an unregistered practitioner, a big no no - and because she can't escape the idea of being a killer emotionally. Even though she knows rationally she's preventing worse by hunting rifters. Plus, there's little else she can do to/ for them.
It's obvious L.A. Braden created a tortured soul with a self-created “job” that can be seen by others as vigilante behaviour, or even evil. Still, she's obviously inherently good. The fact her demon keeps trying to make her connect with others says a lot. And not just about their bond. It's a layered part of the book and ties in with the world, the 'Rift', the author created for demons and how they live and exist there. If I might go as far: it's even essential to the plot, in the most black- and-white way, though.
The construct Braden came up with to explain, and even show marginally, how the demon's and Mira's “balance” works as opposed to regular rifters was both original and interesting. Also very believable.
It makes the whole magical part of the book extra fascinating, not to mention the parts where the demon IS indeed riding shotgun.
[Action and layers]
And those moments do exist. They're needed to keep the balance between two souls and mostly when there's danger. But like every good writer would choose, 90% of those moments coincide with essential events. The action scenes in the book are well written, exciting. And when the demon needs to take control, even override Mira to be as powerful as can be, you won't hear a thing happening around you. You're there. Maybe wringing your hands?
Well, that could happen if the emotional chaos our leading lady is in during and certainly after some events hits you in the feels. It makes Demon Riding Shotgun an Urban Fantasy novel with deeper layers, if you let it. At times Braden indirectly positions the question; which perspective is right? Mira's or the demon's. The police's or our main character? What would you do, if you had the facts and the control? Are you black, white, or morally gray?
Before you think you might be buying a psychological drama... don't worry: Mira's psyche simply creates more dimension to what otherwise would be a typical bad-ass witch. You can focus on the moral ambiguity we see every now and then - and subsequently entertain certain questions - or just let the story flow. That's easily done.
What's more: her baggage influences her conscious decisions on a regular basis and I'm not afraid to say they're rarely the best. And lead to her getting in trouble more than you can count. These are the parts where I groaned out loud. But when emotions are involved, whether it's annoyance, appiness, sadness or satisfaction related to events and characters, we can usually speak of a good book. And I can only describe Demon Riding Shotgun as a fast-paced, engrossing, unexpected and tension filled magical work.
Some last, but not least points. Anyone not interested in, or fed up with the big romantic parts in most female written Urban Fantasy: this book barely has that. Romance. The term “tiny touch” is truly applicable. Yes, there is a man, and attraction, and in the end it is clear they are both interested. However, while this Detective (duh!) plays a big role in the story, that role isn't necessarily of romantic partner. It's of Police Detective, of someone with experience with paranatural practitioners, of another person with emotional scars, and of someone who could be – quite important- a potential ally. But you won't find the lovey-dovey story that's so common in other titles of this genre. This also means, despite major hints in that direction, there are no graphic sex scene(s).
While I enjoy the type of Urban Fantasy where the romance is well written and will eventually strengthen the character(s) [f.e. In the Kate Daniels series or Chicagoland Vampires] and storyline, I detest the gratuit yummy detective or hotty but scary supernatural that's Alpha male, not to mention in love within 2 chapters. Usually making the Fantasy storyline secondary. In that regard I could even say Braden's Demon Riding Shotgun was refreshing.
Also refreshing: I didn't see the true big bad coming at all. Even though as a reader you're in Mira's head all the time and know a part of the “Big Scary Plan” from the very beginning. It's the icing on the cake named Demon Riding Shotgun. The ending, it is a standalone after all, finds our balanced rifter safe and the bad guys gone. However, that same ending leaves a door wide open. A portal if you will. I wouldn't be surprised if Braden treats us to more stories from and related to the Rift. Actually, if they're just as action-packed and well written, one can only hope so!
Rating: do I still need to say it? Five stars, Demon lovers! A great read for every female lead Urban Fantasy enthusiast. Particularly if you don't want to be distracted by a full on love story. The magic wins, so do you.
A bad to the bone heroine makes this an enjoyable read! Fast paced and very well written. Will hook you in and you get engrossed into the story. Great story plot Lots of magic. Love Love Love the characters! Thanks#netgalley and #BellBridgeBooks for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
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