Book Review: Forsaken (Demon Trappers #1) by Jana Oliver

8534899Title: Forsaken (Demon Trappers #1)
Author: Jana Oliver
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: February 7th 2011
Author Website | Demon Trappers Website | Goodreads

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself—and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…

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?

Forsaken is the first novel in the Demon Trappers series and follows Riley Blackthorne, daughter of famous demon trapper Paul Blackthorne. Riley is working a standard job on a Grade One demon in the school library when something goes terribly wrong. A Grade Five demon pops up and overpowers Riley in a matter of seconds. This little event causes Riley to get a slap on the wrist – again – from the local demon trappers guild. They aren’t too thrilled with having a girl in their midst to begin with, and Riley’s constant screwing up only makes matters worse. The demon trappers aren’t buying her story about the Grade Five demon, and she’s forced to work as an apprentice for one of the Masters in the Guild, who turns out to be a raving alcoholic who rather puts his pupils in harms way than actually train them.

On top of that, something terrible happens to Riley’s Dad during what was supposed to be a routine job. Riley and her Dad’s best friend and apprentice, Beck, are left to pick up the pieces. It’s obvious to both of them that something is stirring in the demon world…If only those stuck up masters of their guild wouldn’t be so foolish not to notice anything.

Riley is an intriguing character. I loved her from the start. The author managed to give her main character a unique voice almost right away. I also liked how different Riley is from other heroines we meet all too often in young adult novels: the kick-ass, can defeat anything, uberly overpowered type and the weak, personality-less, cardboard-figure type like we see in Twilight. Riley is strong, but definitely not invincible. She’s used to doing things on her own, even if it would be a lot easier to just ask for help. She has a hard time opening up to people, and naturally, she feels more than a little lost without her Dad.

Beck is an interesting character as well. The only thing I found annoying about him was the way he talked. “Ya” instead of “you”, for example. This annoys me endlessly, in all books. I’m glad it wasn’t overdone here though. Beck is tough but a bit of a loner. Paul Blackthorne, Riley’s Dad, wasn’t just his teacher, but also his best friend. When something happens to Paul, Beck can’t help but blame himself. Lost, confused and feeling guilty, he does everything he can to help out Riley, who doesn’t want his help at all, and to take revenge on the things that took his friend away. I liked Beck, and I thought his personality was very strong, although similar to some of the other male heroes I’ve read in YA, his voice still seemed unique enough for me to like him.

What I really fell in love with, was the world Jana Oliver created in her Demon Trappers series. Good vs. evil, demons of different grades based on how difficult it is to defeat them, a world infested with creatures from hell, demon trappers guilds to try and defeat them, Holy Water, and a lot more. Her world is practically bursting with creativity. It’s grim and dark, but also intriguing and awesome. I wouldn’t mind spending a week or two there.

If you’re a fan of YA paranormal romance and urban fantasy, then Forsaken is an excellent choice. It’s one hell of a ride, a pageturner that kept me glued to my seat from start to finish. Don’t miss out on this one!

Comments

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