Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Demon Trapper’s Daughter by Jana Oliver

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.
But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?

This is a fun and interesting story, certainly a unique take on angels and demons. I liked Riley, and found her situation intriguing and compelling. I certainly want to read the next book to find out what happens next.

There were a few inconsistencies that bothered me. Riley is training to be a demon hunter. Her dad was a demon hunter. Why hasn’t she learned some basic self-defense? I’d think that her dad would want to keep her as safe as possible, because there are other dangerous things in the world besides demons. It felt a bit contrived that she wouldn’t know how to defend herself against humans, but she can bring down demons that no one has taught her how to capture. I’d rather see her know how to defend herself, know that she’s out-matched, and then retreat rather than not know and let her fear drive her away. As a result, her character wasn’t completely consistent. One minute she’s all kick-butt badass and the next she’s meekly surrendering. It didn’t fit for me.

The other thing that really bothered me was the dynamic between Riley and Beck. Their animosity felt a bit contrived. If Riley’s father had explained Beck’s actions at a few key moments, then this animosity wouldn’t exist. I’m not a fan of conflict that’s around because someone won’t explain what’s going on.

As a result, there was so much time spent on Riley and Beck that the ending felt a bit rushed. I was really wishing there had been less of the Riley/Beck thing and more of what’s going on with the demons. That was truly interesting, and I’m very curious to see what’s going to happen next.

The last thing I want to comment on is the tone of the book. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but this book sounded like both YA and adult fiction. The narrator changes from Riley to Beck—Riley is a teenager and Beck is in his twenties. So, very different voices going on. Plus, there are several references to sex, sex toys, suggestions of sexual violence, soliciting a minor, and other sexual references. So, I wouldn’t recommend this book to teens under, say, sixteen or so.


Catherine Stine said...

I'm finding myself more interested in these types of magical realism themes, so I liked this premise (and cover art!).
Not such a fan of overly explicit sexual stuff. Toys? Um, TMI. Less is more, methinks.

Anonymous said...

Very nice review. Thanks for the warning about the sexual references.

Tabitha said...

Oh! The 'toys' aren't actually used in a scene, and there aren't any sex scenes, but there are sexual references that aren't really appropriate for younger teens. Also, the overall tone feels older, even borderline adult.

I really liked this premise, too, and I'm looking forward to the next book.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Interesting review. I've been intrigued by this book. I'll have to see if I agree with you.

BTW, I'll be a blog partner with Casey McCormick on Literary Rambles and we're announcing on Monday. There will lots of author interviews and giveaways. Hope you check it out.

cleemckenzie said...

I wonder if this blurring of YA/adult is a trend or just an occasional pushing of the envelop.

S (Book Purring) said...

I barely finished this, I didn't like Riley at all. The authors writing style she would have Riley have a thought and then a demoralizing thought in italics and Beck's speaking voice annoyed me. A lot. I also felt the Beck/Riley hate felt contrived and it just added to the pile of reasons I didn't like Riley. I don't think I'll read the next one :/