Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review: The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Riley Blackthorne has always wanted to follow in her famous father's footsteps. Unfortunately, the rest of the demon trappers don't take kindly to a girl amongst their testosterone-filled ranks -- but if hairy, sharp-toothed demons don't scary Riley, a bunch of old men don't stand a chance. Yet, life in near-future Atlanta is harsh in more ways than one. When the unthinkable happens, Riley is forced to pick up the pieces of her devastated life, protect her father's body from necromancers, bag and tag enough demons to survive, and save the world from the impending apocalypse. Just a typical day for a teenage demon trapper. 

This novel launches readers straight into the thick of the action. Jana Oliver holds no punches, immediately introducing readers to the harsh realities of this grim and gritty future. Riley finds herself in one unbearable situation after another, and the men in her Guild are far from supportive (considering she's the only female trapper -- ever). Though this world is bleak, it is brilliantly constructed: descriptive, complex, complete and self-contained. The fascinating demonology ranges from the downright gruesome to the adorably gremlin-like. It is especially intriguing that the demons are not a secret, but a daily fact of life in this brutal future. The mythology Oliver has built is rich, and half the fun is learning more about its intricacies.

Yet, there is an interesting contrast between this grungy world and the quippy narration. Riley is definitely a cynic, and she is strong, smart and determined to prove herself. The novel evokes the hopelessness of this future with apparent ease, and it is impossible not to feel for Riley as she endures the unimaginable. However, though Riley is a sympathetic and rounded character, it is nearly impossible to like the rest of the Guild. The male-dominant world is appallingly misogynistic and crass. While that may be the effect the author was going for, it sometimes made reading uncomfortable. Yet, it is refreshing to read a YA novel in which romance is not the primary focus. The Demon Trapper's Daughter does feature some teen love, but by-and-large it centers on the fur-flying, demon-trapping antics of the Guild -- full of action, danger and mystery. Jana Oliver has created a fascinating, utterly original story that will add spice to the repetitive YA fare.

Rating: 

Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher. This did not affect my review in any way.



24 comments:

BookGeek said...

This looks really good - nice review. I am getting a little tired of the YA romance cookie cutter, so it might be a nice departure of reading to take a dive into this one.

BTW - love the new layout!

GMR said...

I've only just begun reading this one, but so far, I agree with your assessment of Riley. She knows where she's going and how to get there (or at least she thinks she does). I don't have the same concerns (right now at least) about the male-dominated Guild...I mean for the most part, some seem stuck in the past where the trappers were all men. Just brings to mind some people you meet (or have met...*ahem*) in real life. Can't wait to read more... *glances at clock*. Thanks for the non-spoiler review! Happy reading....

the Vintage Bookworm said...

Glad you liked it! :) I've heard great things about it. Can't wait to read it!

Love your new layout, by the way.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Thanks for the great review. This is a whole new book for me and I think it sounds like a good read. :) I just might have to add this to the list. :) thank you!

Lisa said...

I've been looking forward to this book. I can't wait to read it. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Jana Oliver said...

Thanks so much for the great review! I'm so glad you liked the story. As for The Guys in the Guild: it is uncomfortable reading on occasion because some of them are just mean and nasty because they feel threatened by Riley and what she represents. I wish that part was fantasy, but talking to female friends in male-dominated professions tells me otherwise. Sigh...

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

Thanks so much for stopping by Jana! I definitely don't find the men's behavior hard to believe. I grew up in a small town that was still living in the 1800s. We've come so far, yet have so far to go. Sigh. I loved how Riley never let them cow her though!

*Jam* said...

I want to read it so much!

Lexie said...

This book definitely intrigues me. I haven't read many urban fantasy novels but this one reminds of the TV show Supernatural which I absolustely love! So how can I resist this book!

Elizabeth said...

I want to read tis book so much. Hopefully when it comes out I'm a buy it. Love the cover

Diana said...

Great review! When I first read the story of the book just love this. I really can wait to read it.

Mary Ellen said...

I just read this book last week! It was one of the most original and exciting books I've read in a while. I can't wait for a sequel. If you're wavering on whether to read it or not, read it now! I loved it!
methom@earthlink.net

Vivien said...

I have this book waiting on me to read. I've been putting it off for the right time.

Moirae(thefates) book reviews said...

This looks like such a great book!!

Lane

Anne said...

Your review makes me think this one is a lot like the Magic Bites series by Ilona Andrews (actually that may just be the name of the first book, I'm not sure about the name of the series, and of course it was an adult series, not YA, but it was awesome!) I'll be adding this one to my TBR list!

oriana said...

THis book looks great , thanks for the review!
orianofla@gmail.com

Syki said...

I enjoyed this book so much! It was so different from others YA books! I think that both Riley and Beck are strong characters and I hope that they will end together one day 'cause they should be together.

Jadey! said...

Hmmmm... seems to me like a mix between Keirsten White's Paranoralcy and the Devil's Kiss series by Chadda Surwat (spelling?) Absoloutely fantastic review, made me willing to give this one a shot.

Jennifer said...

I am curious about this book. Not exactly sure if it is for me. Thanks for the review, as it gives me more idea if I would like to read this or not.

Emilie said...

I didn't know if I would read this one or not but after reading your review I'm sure that I will read it :)

emilieeven(at)aol(dot)com

danya said...

The world-building sounds like a really solid aspect of this one. Interesting that the author would choose to make the society so misogynistic...I can see how that might be both thought-provoking but uncomfortable to read at times! Do you know if this one's intended to be the first in a series?

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

danya -- Yep, there will definitely be a second book, but I don't know how many are planned in the series.

Lisa Tawn Bergren said...

I loved Oliver's fictional world and can't wait for book 2! Some things in DTD made me uncomfortable too, but mostly I found them to help build that believability factor. Think it's a 15 and up kinda read tho...

Kayma said...

I'm sooooo Team Beck. I mean, seriously. He's just swoon worthy.

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