Thinking about YA books made me realise that I had only shared the review of the first book in the the Demon Road series by Derek Landy, here. So I decided to share the other two.
Desolation (The Demon Road Trilogy, Book 2) by Derek Landy
THE EPIC NEW THRILLER CONTINUES.
Book two in the mind-blowing new supernatural thriller from bestselling author DEREK LANDY, creator of international sensation Skulduggery Pleasant.
Reeling from their bloody encounter in New York City at the end of Demon Road, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell – five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master.
Amber and Milo’s only hope lies within Desolation Hill – a small town with a big secret; a town with a darkness to it, where evil seeps through the very floorboards. Until, on one night every year, it spills over onto the streets and all hell breaks loose.
And that night is coming…
Here my review
More fascinating characters, a tiny bit of romance, and Alaska, but less of a road trip.
Thanks to Harper Collins Children’s Books and to Net Galley for offering me a free copy of the novel in exchange for an unbiased review.
I read Demon Road recently, loved it and was keen to know what happened next. The first novel was a ride, a succession of adventures along the demon road and there were many stories that I felt would have made great books in their own right.
The second book in the series is about Desolation Hill in Alaska, the only place where Amber and Milo think they might be safe from the hounds of hell that are after them. The novel is less of a road trip (they get there fairly quickly even if finding the actual place seems difficult, we later get to know why) and more of a novel about a town that hides many secrets and is much darker than it might appear at first sight. Amber is still trying to grow up and get to grips with the fact that she’s a demon through no fault of her own, and she still has her parents trying to find her (and now, instead of eating her they want to take her back to the Shining Demon). We still see things from her point of view. But there are many changes.
The story is not only different in the setting, but also in the way it is told. There are other character’s points of view that come into play. I particularly like Virgil, and elderly man who used to star in a TV programme in the seventies (where he was the hero, an avenger type with mask and all), who is later joined by Javier, the actor who used to play his old archenemy. Their interaction is funny, but also poignant and touching at times. There are also a group of fairly young people (and a dog) who hunt demons and evil in its many forms. They jokingly refer at times to Scooby-Doo, and with the dog (Two) and their van there is a certain similarity, although not in the details. We also see the story from their perspective at times and we get the sense that there are many stories (that like Kelly’s tattoos might deserve more screen, or page, time) behind them and ahead of them. The Demon Road throws interesting people together, for sure.
Amber becomes stronger, more determined, and comes up with daring plans and decisions that don’t always bring the expected results (hardly ever). But she’s still vulnerable and her self-esteem when she’s in human form is poor. It is refreshing to see that at least one person she meets thinks she is cooler in human form and does not find her attractive as a demon. Her relationship with Kelly hints at the possibility of a romance but as we well know the path of true love is never a smooth one.
I thought the alternative points of views helped show Amber under a different perspective, more ambiguous, and helped ground the story. On the other hand, I missed the road trip part of it. There are plenty of interesting characters, some from the town and some outsiders, and there is plenty of action. To be truthful, when the festival arrives (I won’t explain what it consists of but yes, I’m happy I’ve never been to one) the action speeds up to such a level that sometimes I found it difficult to keep up. More than a page turner it becomes a hurricane.
The novel ends in a big twist that seems to throw the action in a completely different direction and makes us question once again what kind of person/demon Amber will turn out to be in the end. I definitely want to know.
I would advise anybody considering reading this book to start by reading Demon Road. Although the action might be understood if read alone, and there are clues along the way, some of the nuances and the backstory greatly enhance the overall effect (and some props, like the key used at times are a legacy from previous adventures).
There are things I like better in this book, and things I like better in the first, but I get the sense that the series has been conceived as a whole and it will all fit in together nicely (or nastily, considering the genre) by the end. We shall see. I’ll be waiting for the third one (and it seems it’s only a few months to go).
And last, but not least…
The Demon Road 3. American Monsters by Derek Landy
The epic conclusion in the mind-blowing supernatural thriller from bestselling author DEREK LANDY, creator of international sensation Skulduggery Pleasant.
Bigger, meaner, stronger, Amber closes in on her murderous parents as they make one last desperate play for power. Her own last hopes of salvation, however, rest beyond vengeance, beyond the abominable killers – living and dead – that she and Milo will have to face.
For Amber’s future lies in her family’s past, in the brother and sister she never knew, and the horrors beyond imagining that befell them.
Thanks to Harper Collin’s Children and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC copy of this novel that I voluntarily reviewed.
I’ve followed with interest Derek Landy’s series of The Demon Road Trilogy, and the evolution of Amber, the main character. If it’s true that adolescence is a difficult time, try it when your parents are demons planning on eating you when you become sixteen to increase their power, and you’ll see that Amber’s circumstances are extreme, to say the least. Throughout the two previous books, she grows, learns that there are multiple shades of goodness (and even to badness), and discovers many things about herself and her family. She makes deals to save those she cares about, even if that means getting into terrible trouble.
Like the two previous books in the trilogy, this one is also written in the third person but told from Amber’s point of view, and we do get to share in her feelings and deeply hidden thoughts, even those she won’t tell Milo, his faithful (and intriguing) sidekick. If the two previous books are fairly different in their format, with the first one being set as a road trip, and the second as an adventure more self-contained in a fascinating small-town with a very dark side, this one returns to the format of the road trip. Amber has made a deal with the Shining Demon, becoming his Representative, and although her task is fairly disagreeable, she doesn’t embrace the dark side and tries and do the right thing too.
There are memorable episodes and scenes impossible to forget (beware if you love motels, you might not feel safe in one ever again after reading this), a great cast of characters (some we knew from before and we’re happy to see again and some not so much, others brand new), and also tricks, betrayals and sad moments, including the loss of some of the characters we’ve come to care for. There are fights, mostly with supernatural beings, trips to hell and back (literally), heart-wrenching moments and some lighter ones.
The twists and turns of the plot are intriguing, they keep the action going at a great pace, and there are many surprises. If Amber had never liked herself very much and was despairing of herself and her looks before, now she seems more accepting (the power of love, perhaps), but has another self (a hallucinatory side-effect) that keeps undermining her. No matter what her demon-self says, she has come a long way from the beginning of her story, has become independent, daring, and has managed to keep her humanity and her sense of morality. She isn’t the only one who has changed and she is instrumental in the changes of those she comes in contact with.
There are sad moments and also very satisfying moments in the book, and there is a reckoning and a resolution at the end, although I won’t give any spoilers. I will miss Amber, Kelly, Milo, even Glen and their adventures (and the Charger, of course), and I’ll miss the Demon Road, even if I’m not sure I’d like to visit for real.
A great ending to a fabulous trilogy.
Thanks so much to NetGalley and to Derek Landy for the trilogy, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and CLICK!