Title: The Demon Trapper’s Daughter
Author: Jana Oliver
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
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?
For some reason, when I first started reading this book I just didn’t like it. Maybe it was the third person narration – I personally prefer first person – or maybe the characters just didn’t immediately interest me, but for whatever reason I was thinking about giving up after only reading the first two or three chapters. Luckily, I stuck with it though, and not only did I finish it but I loved it. I loved Riley and Beck, the multiple story lines were engaging, and I find myself waiting anxiously for the next book in the series, which comes out in the fall, I believe. Until then, I can remember this great book.
Riley was an interesting character. At first, I didn’t really like her, but she did start to grow on me. Sometimes she would jump from emotion to emotion which sort of confused me, and she’s often way too judgmental, but other than that I liked her. I wished she wasn’t so quick to hate Beck, though. Beck is the other narrator, alternating with Riley, and even though Riley often hates him I can’t help but love him. Even though his accent annoyed me, he was a great character. Maybe I liked him better since I got to hear things from his point of view while Riley just had to go on the things she experienced but I felt like she was much too judgmental. She didn’t take the time to understand why he did the things he did, all because of past feelings. Hopefully their relationship will continue to heal in the next book.
The paranormal aspect of the story was especially interesting. This book takes place a few years into the future, in an Atlanta that’s quite a bit different from the one we know now. There are a lot of different paranormal elements in the book, mostly relating to demons. There’s also a lot of religion in the book, which I wasn’t expecting. The demons are from Hell, so the Church is a force in the book, the group that takes care of the demons once the demon trappers trap them. Holy water is one of the demon trapper’s weapons and since the water must be consecrated we even meet a priest who has to come and help Riley with fresh holy water when she’s attacked and nearly dies from an encounter with a Three Demon. It’s interesting to learn more about the demons and the other paranormal aspects along with Riley and her love interest, Simon, as they train as apprentices.
One of the few things I had trouble with, other than the slow beginning, was the romance between Riley and Simon. I’m not sure what it is, but something about it was off. Simon was the perfect Catholic boy – polite, helpful, and respectful. Yet he didn’t seem like the right guy for Riley. The relationship started slow, then suddenly she would call him her boyfriend randomly, rather than referring to him as Simon, and she would marvel at how fast the relationship seemed to be going even when it didn’t seem to being moving very quickly. I much prefered her relationship with Beck – it’s often like a brother and sister relationship, although she once had a crush on him, which explains her main dislike for him. For now I’d be happy for them to be friends, but there’s another part of me that hopes they end up together, although the age difference might not work yet (he’s 22 and she’s 17). Until then, though, I guess I’ll just have to deal with her relationship with Simon.
So, other than the slow start and my small problem with the Simon-Riley relationship, this was an amazing book, especially for a debut. I can’t wait to read the next book, especially if it improves on the minor problems in this book.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars