by Karina Halle
Published May 2012
When the life you wanted has crumbled beneath your fingers, there’s nothing left to do but pick up the pieces and soldier on. You’ve done this before.
But what happens when you no longer feel like yourself anymore? When fires spontaneously start-up around you, when you hear growling coming from underneath your bed, and you no longer recognize your face in the mirror. What happens then?
Ghost-hunter Perry Palomino doesn’t have much time to find out. Now, the evil she used to hunt is a lot closer to home. It’s inside of her, taking over her life bit-by-terrifying bit, and there’s only one person who can help her.
If part of her doesn’t kill him first.
Karina Halle’s Experiment in Terror series has quickly became one of my favorite New Adult series with its horror subplots while focusing on the romantic entanglements and the will they-won’t they between main characters Perry and Dex over the course of the first four books. Things happen to drastically change Perry and Dex’s relationship at the end of book four (Lying Season), and Perry finds herself back in Portland broken hearted, jobless, alone, and without hope on so many levels in her life.
Picking up six weeks after the end of book four, On Demon Wings starts off with Perry fighting to get her life back. Working in a coffee shop, she can barely keep up because she’s physically ill sometimes–barely able to drag herself out of her bedroom in her parents’ house. And then there’s the missing time episodes, the growling coming from underneath her bed, and the dark, heavy, malevolent presence that seems to color every corner of her house.
A good deal of Perry’s high school back story is revealed in this book, and it was great to see where her abilities started to cause her grief and how she coped with it. She’s currently having dreams and the demons of her past are starting to haunt her again just when she’s pulling her life back together. Poor Perry just can’t seem to catch a break no matter how hard she tries. Her parents never seem to approve of her career choices, and when she becomes unstable and starts to become dangerous to those around her, an old friend of Dex’s just happens to show up offering some help. But is Maximus really helping or hurting Perry?
Firmly on Perry’s side is her fifteen year old sister, Ada. She’s the only one who believes that Perry can see ghosts while their parents think that Perry needs to go back into therapy, but sadly Perry can’t protect Ada from the darkness residing inside the house and within herself. I really enjoyed Ada in this book because she’s growing up into a fiercely protective, loyal, and spitfire sister that won’t hesitate to call you on your bull no matter who you are if you’re messing with her family. Faced with no other options, Ada calls in the one person that she thinks can get Perry back: Dex. But can he hold it together long enough to save Perry and is it even possible, or is she too far gone?
On Demon Wings is a haunting and intense book that is full of an overwhelming sense of despair and hopelessness as Perry is slowing taken over and loses herself. Karina Halle’s writing is to the point, funny to break up the tension when necessary, and heart wrenching emotional at all the right times as I’ve come to expect. I’m giving this one a four out of five. While I enjoyed this book and I understand because this is Perry’s story and told from her point of view, with Dex being absent for a good chunk of the story I didn’t find it as engrossing as it could have been.
If you’re curious, my reviews of Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1) (free on Amazon), Red Fox (Experiment in Terror #2), Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror #3), Lying Season (Experiment in Terror #4)