The Demon Trapper's Daughter is the first YA from author Jana Oliver.
The back cover says:
It’s the year 2018, and with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheavals, demons are overrunning all major cities. Atlanta is no exception. Fortunately, humans are protected by Demon Trappers, who 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’m going to tell you up front that this is a positive review. I liked THE DEMON TRAPPERS DAUGHTER, and I think lots of you will like it or even love it.
But let me tell you...
I bought this on the premise alone: girl with a destiny, battle between good and evil, heaven and hell, love triangle (sort of) with an older bad boy and a do right paladin... I couldn’t wait to read it.
First chapter. The greebly little demon is flipping her off and peeing on everything. Hm. She catches it in a sippy cup. Hmmmm. But it’s early yet, so I’ll trust the cover quotes and I keep reading.
Second chapter, new POV. Boy POV. Older boy POV. Hmm. Interesting. Not sure I like it, but I do think I may like HIM. Except...
His dialog is written with an accent. Not just the occasional dialect thrown in for flavor, but when he speaks, every you is a ya, every you’re/your a yer. Now this book was pushing all my buttons in the WRONG way.
Ugh. So I flip to the end and see if the apocalypse happened and if I should care.
I’m not going to tell you what happened in the book, but I ended up going back to the beginning and giving everyone--greebly demons, eye-rolling protagonist, drawling other protagonist--another chance.
The Demon Trapper’s Daughter really is original and the world building is so clever. It starts with the potential to be a bit silly, what with little greebly demon and the sippy cup. But the story itself takes a quite dark turn when Riley’s dad is killed early on. The s*** gets real--there are big bad forces at work, and they want Riley.
True, the writing wasn’t quit as smooth as some of the books I’ve read and reviewed recently, but to hold that against it is like saying Independence Day (a movie I freaking love to watch) isn’t 2001: A Space Odyssey (a movie I appreciate).
One thing that was a little jarring for me was the chapters in the viewpoint of Denver Beck. He’s 22, I think, but he’s done Army service, and very... worldly. He won me over, but he didn’t read like a YA character. He was just a little more adult in his perspective than I’m used to seeing in this genre. The parts in his POV could have been in any book on the urban fantasy shelves.
But weirdly, I like his chapters better. I kept wanting to get back to those parts. Riley was solidly a ‘teen’ for me, so when we popped back to her point of few I had to reorder my thinking not to think of her as a kid. Also weird, because I read more YA than anything. Maybe it was the contrast. I liked Riley, I wanted her to succeed and I felt for her, but she just didn’t fully resonate for me.
But I love the magic, loved the action, love the whole concept and the twists and details of this world. I love that a book about angels and demons bothers to mention God and the Church. (This should be no surprise to people who have read my books.)
I think people who read for a rollicking good story--especially readers who like to read from the genre (non-ya) shelves--will dig this. It’s very Urban Fantasy lite--the ‘lite’ being less sex (none), more homework, and no tramp stamped heroine. (There are F-bombs, though, and Beck’s POV makes me hesitate to recommend it to younger YA readers.)
If you've read this, let me know what you think. I'm curious, because some of it felt so not-YA. (And some did.)
Here's what the other Bookanistas have to say this week:
If you like the Bookanistas reviews, check out the Bookanistas Book Club at The Reading Room.