Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Review: Forsaken (The Demon Trapper's Daughter)

Title: Forsaken (The Demon Trapper's Daughter) 
Author: Jana Oliver
Series: The Demon Trappers #1
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Published: 1st January 2011
Source: Pan Macmillan Australia for review

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?

If you're a fan of shows like Supernatural, this is the series for you. It's filled with dangerous hunts, a badass heroine and tons of supernatural creatures you wouldn't want to run into at night! The story is unique and gripping, centring around Riley Blackthorne who is apprenticing as a demon trapper. After a simple hunt turns nasty, the Guild is knee-deep in suspicious activity, dealing with corruption, fatal sabotages, illegal dealings and more!

Riley is a strong character - when your dad's a famous trapper, you kind of have to be - and while she does make some questionable decisions throughout the novel, she's a good leading lady. Tragedy strikes right at the beginning of the novel and I admire her for continuing to do her job and deal with the consequences. She has so many things on her plate that I felt my own hair falling out just thinking about it! In saying that, I couldn't really connect with Riley on a personal level. Yes, she's "cool" and witty, but the emotional link just wasn't there for me. I have read the sequel, though, and can tell you that the characterisation does improve!

The novel is set in Atlanta, a city so poorly funded that kids are being schooled in grocery stores and at the back of old tattoo parlours. It's an area of great demonic interest so the Guild has their work cut out for them. If you've watched Supernatural, you'll know that the Winchester brothers have to do their job in secret and never get recognition for their good deeds. But these hunters? The public is aware of them, so hunters are hired and able to operate freely without the secrecy! People are fascinated and there's even a popular tv series called Demonland, in which gorgeous actors "hunt". Fun, right? If only real hunting was so glamorous and simple!

While the romance isn't a main part of the book, it's certainly there. When she was 15 and Beck was 20, Riley was completely enamoured with her father's trapping partner, but after Beck gave her the brush-off (she was underage!) the two settled to hate each other. Kind of. Beck secretly thinks she's beautiful and strong but he's not about to tell her that! Riley isn't too fussed at all, with her own demon-trapping boyfriend, Simon, who's quite the friendly goody-two-shoes. I liked both men, but again, there was no strong emotional response to either. Obviously, we're positioned to want a Beck/Riley relationship but that'll have to wait for the sequel!

Forsaken ends on quite the cliffhanger. After a nasty battle with lives lost, some strange things begin happening to Riley... Wouldn't you like to know! There is mystery throughout the novel and it's written in a way that you can't guess how it ends. Anything can happen, really! It's a very unpredictable book. Overall, a strong plot with characters that just need a little bit of tweaking.

Which cover and title do you prefer?

Find Jana on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
Buy Forsaken from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.
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