Title: Hellmaw: Of the Essence
Author: Gabrielle Harbowy
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Novel (179 pages)
Sites: Publisher | Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Hellmaw #7
Publisher: Ed Greenwood Group (April 2016)
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Tagline: A threatened daemon treads a treacherous path of blackmail and murder
Another departure from my usual male-male romance reviews, this novel is an interesting, intriguing and LGBT-friendly urban fantasy story, so it may be of interest to paranormal LGBT romance fans.
In the dangerous and sometimes bloodthirsty world of intrigue for those daemons exiled on Earth, the artist Quills attempts to stand apart. The story of her attempt to remain safe in a swirling sea of danger is inventive and compelling. The novel was a wonderful weave of political intrigue, cloak-and-dagger scheming, and the strength of individual conviction, yielding a highly personal tale of struggle within a broader, brutal setting.
The protagonist had a nice mix of daemonic hunger, the detachment of an exiled expatriate, and a clarity of personal will that made Quills a compelling character. Her story is a rewarding journey to the Hellmaw, and I’m looking forward to see other stories in this potentially horrific yet strangely enticing setting.
The story does lead to a couple of intimate encounters (very appropriate to the plot), including some LGBT-friendly passion. The writing draws the reader nicely into the intimacy with some nice bits of sizzle before a satisfying “fade to black.” (The daemons at the center of this setting seem to be able to shift all parts of their forms, which leads to gender-fluidity and hints at varied and interesting intimate if not always romantic couplings.)