I’m not a huge fan of young adult novels as I tend to always find the ones that continually go on about how young the main character is. However, I kept hearing rave reviews about Jana Oliver’s Demon Trapper’s Daughter (aka Forsaken in the UK), so I decided to give it a try. After reading it, I don’t get all the rave reviews. It was a good story, with lots of potential, but it kind of falls flat.
It’s the year 2018, and with human society seriously disrupted by the economic upheavals of the previous decade, Lucifer has increased the number of demons in all major cities. Atlanta is no exception. Fortunately, humans are protected by Demon Trappers, who work to keep homes and streets safe from the things that go bump in the night. Seventeen-year-old Riley, only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing attraction to fellow Trapper apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving citizens from Grade One Hellspawn. Business as usual, really, for a demon-trapping teen. When a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood, she realizes that she’s caught in the middle of a battle between Heaven and Hell.
I like the premise. I really like the premise and I will continue reading the series to see what happens, but I think where it fails for me is with a few of the characters. We get introduced to a couple that seem like they are going no where and the few that will be around for awhile tend to get glossed over. If that makes any sense. For instance, I get that Beck is going to be a hidden love interest for Riley, that was kind of obvious, but I’m not sure how he’s going to overcome being hidden. For one, he turned her down flat two years prior and he did it in a way that she now resents him. They don’t have an amicable relationship, even though they have her father as a common interest, and yet I definitely got the feeling these two are going to be involved down the road. I just don’t know how that is going to happen. Well, I see how it could happen, but why Riley would change her mind, especially with the appearance of Simon, I’m not sure. She’s starting to get involved with someone, but we’re suppose to believe that Beck has feelings for Riley and vice versa. That whole relationship, or the potential for a relationship, seems like it’s going to be reaching and I’m not sure how it’s going to be delivered.
One of the characters I’m not sure why we’re introduced to is her best friend Peter, but wait, Peter doesn’t like the fact that she is a demon trapper and therefore can’t hang out with her any more. Whoops, was that a spoiler? Seriously, so not a spoiler once you read the story. The only thing Peter does is give Riley a reason to investigate something and that is it. Even then, all he does is hack into her father’s files and tell her what’s on them. We never see Peter in person, only via the telephone, and he does nothing that Riley couldn’t have been given the talent to do. It’s almost as if Oliver didn’t want Riley to be smart enough to figure out a computer so she had to have a friend who was a whiz and then there was no need for him. I’m just not seeing what the purpose of Peter was and his presence was just weird.
I’m still confused over the presence of Ori. Is he good? Evil? Chaotic? He shows up in Riley’s life unexpectedly, and repeatedly, and nothing is said about him. Why does he keep showing up? Is he aligned with the demons, the trappers or the hunters? I don’t know because nothing is said about the guy. For all I know he could be a human who has a celebrity crush on Riley. There’s obviously more to the guy than we’re seeing, and he’s going to be involved in Riley’s life in a major way, but how I’m just not sure.
As for the premise of Demon Trapper’s Daughter, like I said, I really like the idea that demons have overrun the city and there’s a huge financial crisis that has thrown the world into a post-apocalyptic/medieval time period. I like the idea that Riley traps demons and sends them wherever they are suppose to go, but she also begins to see that not everything is black and white. The relationship she has with Harper is going to be the most interesting to watch. Something tells me that Riley is not going to be what Harper expects and that’s going to strongly impact him. Not necessarily in a good way, but it still will. The thing that shows up at the end, I’m not sure about yet. There’s one scene where Riley does something really stupid (if you’re messing with demons, you don’t do this) and yet it ends before she finishes or she gets interrupted or something. I’m not sure what happens between the stupid act and five minutes later and I think it’s going to come back and bite her on the ass. There’s a lot of potential for the story and I’m curious to see where it goes.
Overall, while I enjoyed Demon Trapper’s Daughter, I wouldn’t say that it was one of my favorite reads. It’s definitely not one of the best young adult novels I have read, but it’s not bad either. The plot is a little slow in developing and we don’t get the entire story with Demon Trapper’s Daughter, but there was enough there to keep my interest and keep bringing me back to the story. My biggest complaint would have to be that there really wasn’t a conflict resolution. There were problems, but no answers; and while there are obvious mysteries, especially dealing with her father, there’s no hints for Soul Thief given. Let’s just say that while I’m eager to read Soul Thief to see what happens next, I’m not running out to get it when it releases at the end of the month.
Demon Trapper’s Daughter