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Friday, 17 June 2016

Demon Road by Derek Landy (Demon Road, #1) - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

She's having a hell of a time...


Edition: Paperback
Pages: 508
Chapters: 60
Publisher: HarperCollins

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Blog

Review

Get on your adventure boots, people, and get ready for a cross-country ride through the evil underbelly of America's supernatural world, because, in my humble opinion, Demon Road just happens to bring its A-game and then some.

We're treated to a smorgasbord of horror, comedy and action in a phenomenal blend with a phenomenal balance. Ever seen the TV show Supernatural? (If not, what the hell? Where have you been for the last decade?) Well, Landy channels that kind of aura while wrapping it up in his own remarkably sharp wit.

One of the best beginning entries to a young adult trilogy I've read in a while.

Synopsis (This time round, I'll be using the blurb that comes with my edition of the book.)

FOR ANYONE WHO EVER THOUGHT THEIR PARENTS WERE MONSTERS...

Amber Lamont is a normal sixteen-year-old, but when a shocking encounter reveals a horrifying family secret, Amber is forced to go on the run. Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers and red-skinned, horned demons - Amber hurtles from one threat to the next, revealing the terror woven into the very fabric of her life.

Plot - 4.5/5 Stars

'Twelve hours before Amber Lamont's parents tried to kill her...'

Just read that part of the very first sentence in Demon Road. Bask in its sass and intrigue, be completely enveloped by it. Why? Because that's what the author delivers throughout the entirety of the novel. It's a fantastic start that solidifies the reader's attention.

Fifty pages in and you're sold. Landy has terrific wit and style, and that seeps into the story, characters, and incredibly smooth writing. I also love the brief and exciting beginning, because after a little setup, we're propelled on a fun and feisty journey that revels in supernatural horror. The world is fascinating, with the author's version of America rife with genuine gusto. It's brimming with potential and opportunities, ensuring that there is never a dull moment.

It can sometimes verge on the cheesy and the ridiculous, and not all of the twists will rock you, but overall the plot is tight and full of surprises. The journey is a thrilling ride and events build and build in a terrifying way.

And once we reach the action-packed finale, Landy turns things on their head with an intriguing cliffhanger that all but guarantees your purchase of the next instalment.

Pace - 4.5/5 Stars

You'd think that with everything that goes on in the novel the flow would be weighted, but it's far from it. Landy cultivates a ride that's like binge-watching a favourite show: You're unable to stop.

There are nice bouts of action; riveting moments of exposition; and plenty of time spent on fleshing out a lovable cast. The entire novel stays fresh, right up to the last page.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

Demon Road has a rich variety of characters, and all of them are compelling, whether they're good, evil, or somewhere in between. The personality and chemistry that each individual brings to the table translates into a rock-solid connection between the cast and the reader. Progressions are hooking and believable, and Landy's use of their development within the story is seamless.

Our protagonist Amber can be a little frustrating to begin with, as her voice sometimes switches from sounding like a sixteen-year-old teenager to a six-year-old child. But as events move forward she becomes a strong character on all fronts, and one that can deliver a witty remark with great comedic timing. Joining her for the majority are Milo and Glen, two fantastic bedfellows. Milo is an enigma who excels at being the mysterious guardian, and Glen is the phenomenally funny sidekick that bolsters just about everything through his sheer force of will.

Glen truly is the standout member of the cast for me. He could've easily been annoying as hell, but Landy's ability to turn a phrase is a force to be reckoned with, and Glen benefits from this, with every sentence he utters being well worth the collection of words.

Villains are also diverse, and some are even double agents. Each one has their own unique taste of terror and intelligence, making each encounter unpredictable.

Writing - 5/5 Stars

Truly fantastic. Derek Landy has, with this one novel, cemented himself on my list of young adult horror novelists who are a must buy. Demon Road's structure is perfection, and coupling Landy's storytelling ability with his incredible humour makes me beyond excited to pick up more of his works.

Overall - 4.5/5 Stars

A terrific start to a trilogy that I highly recommend.


Next Instalment: Desolation


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