Monday, March 4, 2013

THE DEMON TRAPPER’S DAUGHTER by Jana Oliver - Book Review

[Note: This review was originally published December 5th, 2012, on Jana Oliver is an Author Guest at JordanCon 2013.]

Rating: 4.5/5 - Writing down the title so I can recommend it to everyone.

Title: The Demon Trapper’s Daughter

Author: Jana Oliver

Format: trade paperback

Published: 2011

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

  St. Martin’s Griffin

Landed in my hands: purchased myself

(from the cover blurb):

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 it 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?


Okay, here we go.

::steps onto soap box::

A giant pet peeve of mine is when a cover blurb spoils a plot for me. The job of the cover blurb is to make you want to read more, not to summarize the entire story so succinctly that you’re 200 pages in and thinking, “okay, NOW she’s going to see the purple horse and learn her uncle never died but ran away, and he stole that frying pan that magically turns all scrambled eggs rainbow colours...”


Point being, I don’t like knowing what happens, hence the spoiler alarm. I’m very conscious of not spoiling plot-points for others, too.

::steps off soap box::

Now that that's said, you’d think I was about to bite into The Demon Trapper’s Daughter for its cover copy, right?

Not so. 98% of the cover’s blurb happens by page seven. BY PAGE SEVEN. And the last paragraph is vague enough that it satisfies my non-spoilery tendencies.

Kudos, St. Martin’s Griffin. You got me to pick up the book, and then Oliver wowed me by action and sucked me in far further than I’d anticipated in a first sitting — yep, the storytelling did the rest.

Seriously. I mean, I’m not sure what I expected from this book, but it certainly didn’t give me what I’d anticipated. Let me phrase that differently: I’d expected a good meal, but I didn’t anticipate a feast.

The idiosyncratic worldbuilding, the charm and depth of the protagonist, the realistic characters, the humour (seriously — Oliver could’ve dragged the joke about the tiny Biblio demons flipping the bird much farther before I’d’ve been tired of it... ha!). It’s a charming read, and very fresh.

Riley is a wonderful protagonist. She’s spirited, she's reactive, she’s stubborn, she’s a fully-fleshed out teen with ups and downs, insecurities, faulty logic, and well, she’s just plain badass.

Yes. Badass.

So if you want a gutsy heroine who’s not afraid to take on Hell itself, grab The Demon Trapper’s Daughter. I finished the last page and was disappointed I’d reached the end, so you can bet I’ve already burned through Soul Thief and Forgiven, the next two books in the series (also excellent), and I'm eagerly awaiting the release of Foretold, in December 2012.

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