Review: The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Title: The Demon Trapper's Daughter
Author: Jana Oliver
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Series: Demon Trappers #1
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
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. Fortunately, humans are protected by trappers, who work to keep homes and streets safe from the things that go bump in the night.

Riley has always dreamed of following in her father's demon-trapper footsteps. But when tragedy strikes and a top-level demon murders her dad, Riley finds herself in for a much more dangerous future than she ever could have imagined.
Initially, this one started a little bumpy for me but it didn't take long for me to warm up to it. I admit that I rolled my eyes at a couple of descriptions and dialogues that felt a little cheesy and cliché. But the story picks up rather quickly and the cheese lessens and I ended up enjoying it.

Riley is mostly awesome. She is a great female character who must fight for acceptance into a man's profession, in which she's treated unfairly because she's young and a girl. What little respect Riley does get she has to earn with her blood, sweat, and tears. She's a kick-butt heroine but maintains her vulnerability, which I like. The love that she feels for her father isn't seen often enough in stories about teenagers, so I like the fact that he was the most important person in her life and she knew it.

Occasionally the narrative switches from the POV of Riley to that of Beck, her father's trapping partner. I feel that, in the beginning of the book, Beck is a walking, talking stereotype. But Beck as a character has so much complexity and depth beyond the vernacular, mannerisms, and inconsistencies that overshadow his character's best traits for the first half of the novel. As the book progresses further, Beck becomes something else. I wish that he had been that Beck for the entire novel, because his character has such depth that I could not appreciate the shallowness of him that goes on for a good bit of the book. By the end, he seems to be the Beck I wanted him to be from the beginning. Beck also pulls off some seriously bad ass stuff in the story, but the reader doesn't get to see it. There are situations that he comes out of that nobody should be able to walk away from, and I love that this is downplayed in the narrative. I don't know how he did it, other than that he must be seriously awesome. At some point in this series Beck is going to get mad, and someone or something is going to feel the hurt. And, hopefully, we'll get to see it happen.

The plot is really good. The pacing is great and the story is interesting as well as fun (though maybe not so much fun for Riley). I do wish that more of the background was explained, such as how or why demons are all over the place - what brought this situation about? Were they always there and now there are so many that it has become a bigger issue? Is this a new development for some reason? The book only gives a shallow reasoning regarding recessions leading to increased demon activity, but there is really no explanation further than that. Since demon activity isn't the logical effect that I would derive from a recession, I thought that explanation was a little lacking.

Overall, I really like it. The plot is great and I enjoy Riley as a protagonist. As far as the ending goes, I am pleased with it. The reader gets to see a hint of what direction the series is going to take for book two. I'll be reading the next one. I am particularly curious (and hopeful) to see how Beck is developed in the next installment.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I'm not sure if I'll be reading this one or not.


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