Originally posted at Romance Around the CornerMeljean Brook is one of my favorite authors, not in the romance genre, or the paranormal genre, one of my favorite authors period. Not only that, but I’m pretty sure that the Guardian series is my all-time favorite book series. I don’t usually preorder books because I mostly only read on my Kindle, but I made an exception with this one just in case they ran out of e-copies (impossible right?) that’s how much I wanted to make sure that I was getting this book as soon as I could.Demon Marked is book seven in the series -not counting several novellas that are in between- and if you go to Brook’s webpage you will find an extensive guide to the series so you can have an overall idea of where the story is at should you decide to start with this book instead of the first one. But, to be honest, the reason why this series is so good is because the story is complex and full of twists and turns, if you don’t start with the first book (actually the first novella) then it won’t be the same experience, not to mention that if you read that guide then all the surprises will be spoiled for you. So what I’m trying to say is please read these books in order, besides, this is the second to last book in the series and why would you want to start here? Go back and read the Hot Spell anthology and Demon Angel and read the whole thing.If you still want to start with this book the best thing I can say is that it is actually a good book for new readers because both leads are new to the story as well, and they learn things as the book progresses. If you are a fan some of the explanations might be a bit tiresome and I felt like they didn’t flow as flawlessly as in previous books. Brook tends to show things instead of telling them but in this case I did feel that there was a lot of info dump. However, it was actually refreshing to have two characters that don’t have much clue about what’s going on and have an outside look into the whole Guardians world, and an interesting take on their actions. The line between good and evil gets a bit blurry when you see it from a different perspective and makes you wonder if the end really justifies the means.I won’t even try to explain what the series is about. I will say this though, the world-building is complex and the books are tightly plotted, each book has its own resolution but the ongoing story-arch is always present. You could read all seven books back to back and feel like it was just one huge story because they balance and complement each other perfectly. It’s obvious to the reader that the author has a clear idea of where the story is going. It’s possible that she added more books than she originally intended but they never feel like fillers, on the contrary, every book has a reason to be. However, this one felt a bit more disjoined from the overall story, in part it was because the leads were new (the hero has a small role in the previous book but nothing else) whereas before at least one of them was deeply involved in the main story, but also because for more than half the book the reader gets not a single clue as to how they relate to the guardians’ world (or maybe there are clues but I read so fast that I didn’t see them).I usually explain the book’s plot, but I won’t do it now because the review is getting long. I do want to talk about the characters, the heroine in particular. You have no idea how fun and refreshing this woman was. When the book starts she has no memory and doesn’t even know who or what she is, she isn’t even sure if her name is really Ash because she gets a feeling that the name isn’t quite right. Most importantly, she has no feelings. Some things bring back memories and reactions that she interpret as maybe fear or longing, but not much else. Her story arch is very interesting because she needs to learn how to be human. She was very funny and stubborn and probably one of my favorite heroines in the series, which is a lot to say because I have loved every single one of the female leads in these books.Nicholas, the hero, was a very interesting character. This guy was ruthless to the point of evil. The Guardians have a hard time believing he is human because at first sight they all assume he is a Demon based on his behavior. He was deeply scarred and just wanted revenge even if that meant sacrificing his humanity. He also has an interesting journey because once he meets Ash, his world turns upside down, and just like her, he needs to figure out how to be human again. Ash and Nicholas balanced each other perfectly and made a fantastic couple.This book was a bit slower than the previous ones, and because I’m so invested in the series’ main story-arch at times I felt a bit impatient with how slow things were moving, but then the book’s last quarter comes along and the pace picks up a lot. And as usual, just when I thought I had figured out how the book was going to end, Brook manages to surprise you once again with a shocking ending that leaves you a bit dizzy and a lot curious.Demon Marked is not the best book in the series but I think is a good second to last book, a bit like the calm before the storm. It sets the next book without giving much away and leaves you curious and excited. It also has a great love story, a bit of mystery and some action. The resolution is more clever and intellectual than action packed but you will still be on the edge of you seat.