Author: Meredith Katz
Title: Behind Bars
Series: Pandemonium 2
Genre: High Fantasy
Pairing: M/M, Bi, Genderqueer
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's Website:
The city of Dolana has kept itself free from demonic rule the hard way: by interrogating its citizens and sending anyone who could possibly be under demonic influence to the Inquisition. City innkeeper Pelerin is happy to help out however he can—after all, he lost his beloved wife to demons many years earlier, leaving him to raise their son on his own. If anyone deserves to have a grudge against demons, it's him.
But when his now-adult son disagrees with his actions, he is forced to reexamine the past. Is he doing the right thing, when it could lead—has led—to the deaths of innocents? Why is his son skulking about, and what secrets is he keeping? And while Pel's hands are full with this, a stranger comes to stay at his inn... a stranger who makes the question more relevant than Pel ever imagined would be possible.
I received this book as an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Pel is a simple innkeeper most of the time, but in the city of Dolana where demons and those under the influence of demons aren't allowed, Pel does his duty by reporting anyone he suspects. Then Tari shows up, asking for a room and acting strange. Except, Tari is the least of Pel's worries when his son starts acting odd in a city where oddness is always punished.
I didn't know whether it was worth requesting this book, given how much I disliked the first in the series, but I have to honestly say I'm very glad I took the chance. There was a lot of growth in writing ability between book one and this story. What I did like about the prequel was how interesting the world building was, which was again the best part of this book. Humans and demons live together after some sort of event--which was still never explained--brought demons into the world. The town Pel lives in has managed to stay demon free by capturing and interrogating anyone suspicious. I liked the amount of detail the world was given and the demons versus human mentality was very interesting to read.
Pel as a character was interesting. His tragic back story allowed the almost extreme hatred he had for demons feel believable and I liked the way he interacted with his son. I did think it was a bit of a stretch for him to go from so vehemently hating demons to suddenly supporting them, but again it still worked overall. I didn't like Tari as much. Their character was a bit too freewheeling and I feel like it didn't mesh well with some of the more serious themes of the book.
This story is considerably better than the prequel, which is why I do recommend it. I liked the world building and the characterizations were interesting, albeit a tad weak. Overall I enjoyed reading this story.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.