quippe (quippe) wrote in cool_teen_reads,

The Demon Trappers: Forsaken by Jana Oliver

The Blurb On The Back:

Riley Blackthorne.
Kicking hell’s ass one demon at a time ...

Riley has always wanted to be a Demon Trapper, but it’s tough being the only girl in an all-guy world. It doesn’t help that three of those guys are making her life pretty complicated: Simon, the angelic apprentice who has heaven on his side; Beck, the tough trapper who thinks he’s God’s gift, and Ori, the strikingly sexy stranger who keeps turning up to save her life.

One thing’s for sure – if she doesn’t keep her wits about her there’ll be hell to pay ...

It’s 2018 and 17 year old Riley Blackthorne splits school with working as the only female apprentice Demon Hunter to her dad, Paul, so they can pay off the exorbitant medical bills run up treating Riley’s late mother. However some Demon Hunters – notably Harper, who has a grudge with Riley’s father - object to her apprenticeship, seeking any excuse to throw her out.

Riley though has more important things to worry about when her father is killed by a Grade 5 demon. Even as she tries to come to terms with his death, she finds herself having to deal with the fact that necromancers want to raise his body to turn him into a Deader (a slave to the rich). Her only ally is Beck (her dad’s former apprentice), but their relationship has been tense ever since he shot down her crush on him 2 years earlier and his high handed attitude combined with his reaction to her growing attention to Harper’s apprentice, Simon, a religiously devout hottie, make things more difficult. Soon Riley finds herself at the centre of a hellstorm and everyone seems to want a piece of her.

Jana Oliver’s novel, the first in a YA trilogy, is a mix of urban fantasy and future dystopia. Her depiction of an Atlanta where the government is too broke to even maintain school buildings is credible and at times feels strangely prescient. She’s also clearly put a lot of thought into her world building, drawing distinctions between trappers and hunters, establishing different grades of demon and their relative powers, hinting at the involvement of the Catholic church and throwing in other supernatural elements e.g. necromancy in a way that makes for an entertaining mix.

Because the world building is so detailed and Oliver is setting up the plot strands for the remaining two books, this book is almost all set-up. There were times when the amount of information made my attention wander, particularly because there’s no main plot strand to pay off at the end. The love triangle element between Riley, Simon and Beck left me meh as it seems so overdone and Riley’s increasing super specialness risked being grating.

That said the action scenes are well handled and the confidence with which Oliver writes makes me trust that there will be an interesting pay off in the next two books so I’ll be reading on.

The Verdict:

This YA book is an interesting mix of urban fantasy and dystopian future and the world building (particularly the depiction of a bankrupt and crumbling Atlanta) is carefully constructed and well executed. The first in a trilogy, the story is almost all set-up and at times it adversely affected the pacing for me. I’m also not a big fan of love triangles and that seems to be a major part of the overall story while Riley’s increasing specialness came close to becoming over-blown. However there are enough mysteries and twists to hold my interest and Oliver’s writing holds the promise of an interesting pay-off so I’ll be reading on.

THE DEMON TRAPPERS: FORSAKEN was released in the UK on 7th January 2011. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the ARC of this book.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, bookworming, fantasywithbite, urbanfantasyfan and yalitlovers.

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