It's 2018 and 17 year old Riley Blackthorne splits school with working as the only female apprentice Demon Hunter to her dad, Paul, so they can pay off the exorbitant medical bills run up treating Riley's late mother. However some Demon Hunters - notably Harper, who has a grudge with Riley's father - object to her apprenticeship, seeking any excuse to throw her out.
Riley though has more important things to worry about when her father is killed by a Grade 5 demon. Even as she tries to come to terms with his death, she finds herself having to deal with the fact that necromancers want to raise his body to turn him into a Deader (a slave to the rich). Her only ally is Beck (her dad's former apprentice), but their relationship has been tense ever since he shot down her crush on him 2 years earlier and his high handed attitude combined with his reaction to her growing attention to Harper's apprentice, Simon, a religiously devout hottie, make things more difficult. Soon Riley finds herself at the centre of a hellstorm and everyone seems to want a piece of her.
Jana Oliver's novel, the first in a YA trilogy, is a mix of urban fantasy and future dystopia. Her depiction of an Atlanta where the government is too broke to even maintain school buildings is credible and at times feels strangely prescient. She's also clearly put a lot of thought into her world building, drawing distinctions between trappers and hunters, establishing different grades of demon and their relative powers, hinting at the involvement of the Catholic church and throwing in other supernatural elements e.g. necromancy in a way that makes for an entertaining mix.
Because the world building is so detailed and Oliver is setting up the plot strands for the remaining two books, this book is almost all set-up. There were times when the amount of information made my attention wander, particularly because there's no main plot strand to pay off at the end. The love triangle element between Riley, Simon and Beck left me meh as it seems so overdone and Riley's increasing super specialness risked being grating.
That said the action scenes are well handled and the confidence with which Oliver writes makes me trust that there will be an interesting pay off in the next two books so I'll be reading on.
on 28 December 2010
Kicking hell's ass one demon at a time...
Riley has always wanted to be a Demon Trapper like her father, and she's already following in his footsteps as one of the best. But it's tough being the only girl in an all-guy world, expecially when three of those guys start making her life more complicated:
Simon, the angelic apprentice who has heavon on his side, Beck, the rough trapper who thinks he's God's gift and Ori, the strikinly sexy stranger who keeps turning up to save her life.
One things for sure - if she doesn't keep her wits about her there'll be hell to pay...
This was the most refreshing book I've read in a long time. I am (of course) a fan of all the paranormal romance novels like Twilight and The House of Night Series but this is different, on so many levels. Because it's about a girl, a girl who TRAPS demons. She doesn't suck blood, or fly around as an angel saving the guys she loves. She is a human girl, in the world in 2018. It was refreshing to read about a human girl and her kicking ass without 'superpowers' just using training and her own wit. As a charactor Riley is lovable and you can relate to her through the tragedies her life has and the feelings she has. She is a real charactor because she has flaws and issues just like real people.
I cannot wait for the next two books of this trilogy, I couldn't put this book down and really recommend it.
on 23 December 2010
Riley is an apprentice demon trapper. She's good at it too, just like her dad, and wants to follow in his footsteps, despite the misgivings of the demon trapper council. When her dad is killed by a demon, it makes sense that she should carry on, with the small matter of needing to keep vigil over his body to prevent it being stolen and used for menial labour. And then there's the matter of her apprenticeship, and a dark plot to keep the trappers from doing their work..
This is gripping, fast-moving, adventuring of the highest order, Riley is a great kick-ass teen and full of the usual teen angst and worries, although despite a few problems at the makeshift schools she has to attend, most of her worries are demonic in origin. Riley has to grow up fast and meet some adult situations (death, destruction, paying the rent) as best she can, but has good friends and a strong self-confidence instilled by her father.
Demons make a nice change from vampires, and there's plenty of action here, quite a few dramatic moments and heart-in-your-mouth set pieces, making this a great read for teens and adults alike. I loved this and am eagerly waiting for the sequel, as there's more fun here than just one book could contain.
on 24 May 2012
I didn't have any great hopes for this book, mostly because I wasn't that keen on the cover. However, the blurb was interesting so I figured I'd give it a shot.
To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. I was, as we say here in Wales, gobsmacked! This book was so astoundingly good that when I finished it I went straight on to the kindle app on my iPhone and purchased the sequel. Then I finished that and had to by part three! I read all three in a day, even though I had to stay up into the wee hours to finish. Two words: worth it!
Riley Blackthorne is the only female Demon Trapper, so she has a lot to prove. Furthermore, her dad is a legend in the business so she's got some pretty big boots to fill, too. And she rocks. She was strong, funny and determined and I loved her.
The third person narrative is split between her perspective and that of Beck, Riley's father's demon trapping partner. Beck is a country-boy-made-good who has a streak of arrogant stubbornness to him which hides some deep vulnerabilities. He wants to protect Riley, but tends to express himself in such ways that annoy her. Their banter is at once infuriating and hilarious.
As the narrative progresses, Riley has to face some grim challenges. I was hit-for-six by the inciting incident of the book and then completely charmed by Riley as she tried to cope with all of the darkness in her life.
One of the glimmers of light in her world is Simon, a fellow apprentice. Jana Oliver writes their scenes with tender sweetness and I'm sure I was meant to love him, but I just didn't. Maybe it was his piousness which made me feel a bit "meh" about him, (I'm sorry but I can't imagine I'd ever go for a guy who wore a big wooden cross around his neck...), but mostly I think it was Beck. The dual narratives show us how perfect Riley and Beck could be for each other, even when they are busy pissing each other off! This was expertly done.
Even though I wasn't sold on Simon, he's important to Riley's development as a character and as a young woman. Beck is a bit older than her and has done a lot more living than she has. If they ever hope to be together, Riley has some catching up to do! I'm talking about the trials of love and loss that define the people we become. Riley begins The Demon Trappers series with a tough streak, but she's still soft in a lot of ways because she's so protected. That changes rather quickly!
Overall, this was a brilliant first instalment to what is turning out to be an awesome series.
on 4 August 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was amazing!! Although I'm not gonna lie it take me to about chapter 2 to get into it. (As my brain wasn't really working) I cannot wait for Forbidden to come out and you can get the widget for it on my blog just scroll down on the left hand corner. :)
I'm going to admit I did cry a little when reading it. Especially when Riley yelled for her parents after nearly dying from the Grade 3 Demon attack the night before. I was so happy Beck was with her.
I was really surprised when Martha turned out to be an angel I kept thinking Simon was gong to be an angel . . . . I don't know why I just did as he was so nice and so kind. I wish I had a Simon in real life.
One thing I was abit disappointed about this book. Beck and Riley didn't get together! :( I kept thinking there gonna get together and everything will be so good and nice, (forgot about Simon) but Beck has a really sweet side and he's the kinda guy I'd like. Soo . . . . I'm in love with a fictional character. . . . I think I may just need a lil help.
I hope in Forbidden I will See more of Beck and Riley, as I loved when he'd gotten Riley chocolate and she was savouring the moment and just the whole wee scene between them to was perfect. Also he got people to sign A Get Well Soon card for her . . . so he can't be that bad. Beck has feelings for her as it said he will make sure he never tells her how much he really cares.
Riley and Simon . . . . . Riley and Beck . . . .OHHHH I can't choose!!
I was a lil surprised when Paul showed up (Riley's DEAD Daddy) I was like wow what have I missed it was like I was in the book telling them to GET OUT! Beck was also really worried and was trying to find Riley through all the haze of the demons being released.
I'm a bit scared for Riley as the demons keep saying her name and it's so freaky.
So Harper . . . . What's the big thing with him and Paul? At first I was thinking ohh was he really Riley's Dad then I was noo way! I don't really know what's happened but I hope I get what started there feud!
As there is in every book . . . a mystery guy, and in this book he happens to be Ori, the guy who saved Riley on the day everything was going pear-shaped. Also the guy with the sword . .
I defo don't think Peter and Riley's friend-ship is gonna work out . . As he can't grasp the danger and consequences of what Riley does. I know he's just worried about her but I don't think it will be long in Forbidden before there's a Fallout.
I felt sorry for Riley when her car was trashed . . Also the guy from her new school is kind of scary to read about . . Hope there's less of him in Forbidden.
I'm excited to see why the holy waters not working . . . and how Paul got out . . . . and about Beck and Riley .. Hmm . . .
on 29 February 2012
Forsaken is book one in The Demon Trappers. It is a while ago that I read this book prior to August 2011 when I started this blog so I just used to do star ratings. At the time I gave this book 5/5 stars and I still stick to that rating. I really enjoy how Jana Oliver writes, her books flow so easily. You just don't want to put them down! So I did find this book a rather quick read then was disappointed I had to wait so long for book two to be released.
I love the characters in this book, the relationships between Riley and her father. Also the brotherly type of feelings that Beck has for Riley, though Riley thinks of Beck in quite different terms sometimes. Beck still seems to think of Riley as a little sister figure. I love that Riley is a confident, kick butt chick! she is trying to become a fully fledged demon trapper which is usually considered a male only domain. Riley is determined to live up to the family name of Blackthorne and become the best trapper she can become.
Riley's determination and emotions are tested when a tragedy occurs. Obviously Riley swears to find the demon responsible and to kill it. This demon seems to have some personal vendetta against the Blackthorne name! So Riley is not only fighting the fiends and demons she is fighting some of the Guild, as certain members of it do not believe in admitting women to their ranks.
There's plenty of action with the demons as well as a little romantic angst thrown in too.
I also like the cover the intensity of the eyes staring out, the determination within them!
So did I enjoy it? Yes! loved it! Would I recommend it? Yes, definitely. Would I read more of this series? Yes. Would I read more books by this author? Yes.
on 7 June 2011
Post apocalyptic Atlanta (or at least close to an apocalypse) we start with Riley Blackthorne, in a library, who has been sent to eradicate the demon in said library who just happens to want to destroy all the books. Obviously, in a library, with precious books, you need to get rid of the demon. Riley attempts to do so by reading a classic book to it. This starts off ok, but all goes wrong when the demon goes berserk. Riley then captures it, whilst Beck turns up to bring her back to Trapper HQ. Various things happen...then Riley's dad gets killed by a powerful demon (not going under a spoiler block because most of the book revolves around this), and Riley opts to do graveside vigil each night to stop any necromancers making the body into what is basically a zombie. Around this, Riley is slightly falling in love with Simon, and attempting to get good enough at demon trapping to go after the powerful demon that killed her dad.
I know you shouldn't get hyped up about a book from its summary, but honestly, I did. However this is slightly misleading as Ori doesn't have much of a big part and (I think) Simon is just human, while the blurb implies he's an angel. Blurb aside, on with the actual book....
Everything was explained well. The description and detail made me feel a part of their world, and the narrative, while being slightly odd at first (I'm used to books like these being in first person, this is in third) worked well for this book.
Riley was a very believable character. Not too perfect, but good enough at what she does to be interesting. You could get quite close to her, and understand her emotions at all points in the book.
Simon was pretty boring, he didn't seem to do much until near the end, and although I got a clear image of what he's like, I didn't feel that close to him and considering he's supposed to be a major character, that not very good.
Ori, I did not see the point of at all. He came into the book far too late to get interested in, and didn't seem to do much either except compliment Riley. I'd like to see more of him in book 2, or otherwise I will feel that his existence is pointless.
The supporting characters were good. Paul (Riley's dad) was easy to imagine and connect with (at least while he was alive), as was Ayden, the witch who acts as mentor to Riley from two thirds in.
It was well written. It was mainly fast paced, especially the fight scenes. Some parts dragged on slightly too long though, which is a bit of a letdown, and while the descriptions add to the imagery and the atmosphere, there were some details that I don't think we NEEDED to know, and slowed the book down a bit. And some bits, I'm not sure if we were meant to take in all of the details (thinks about learning what each sphere is for). But I tried and forgot.
I particularly enjoyed the dialogue. You got a clear sense of the relationships between all the characters and could easily understand what each thought of each other, as well as learning a bit more about the characters individually.
There was a little bit of romance in it. The Riley loves Ori bit was obvious, but wasn't there enough to really enjoy it, and the Riley loves Simon bit sort of distracted from the story but was good because it gives a motivation for the ending.
I give this 3 stars and and recommend it to fans of urban fantasy, and those who like the books with "heroine fights paranormal, paranormal fights back" idea.
on 28 May 2011
This book really appealed to me mainly because I have a real love for the TV show `Supernatural' and the idea of average people that take on the battle against evil against hard times and gritty landscapes. Plus having a female lead that has to deal with being a teenager as well as being looked down upon by her peers and elders just because she doesn't fit the mold is a double hardship for anyone to bear.
Riley Blackthorne is a kick ass girl that doesn't take crap from anyone; least of all from Beck who has a cocky attitude and a bad boy sense of style. So he's basically awesome and I fell in love with him right of the bat. How can you not! If, like me, you are a fan of `Supernatural' Beck is pretty much a perfect mix of Dean and Sam Winchester in all the right ways. PERFECTION.
Back to the story and we start with Riley "trapping" as many demon trappers in training might do but it goes very wrong and lands her in a heap of trouble and unwanted focus. The last thing a female trapper needs especially when her dad is her teacher and a well respected trapper himself. After the immediate aftermath of this trap gone array Riley's world takes a huge shift after tragic events. She has to reconsider her whole life and how she wants to go forward in her trapper training and the mysteries that start out as odd goings on and soon become much more sinister. Riley has a great mind for a mystery and its wonderful getting to see action heroes that sometimes have to fight against everyday battles like school bullies and finding finance to pay the rent rather than continual supernatural foes (though she has some great battles of those kinds as well).
The world of a demon infested Atlanta is gritty and dirty and really reflects the life as a trapper. It's not all fun and action like the TV show within the book Demonland that makes trappers all appear glossy and shiny but it has its draw backs. High turnover of clothes, low chances of having any real connections outside of the world of trappers, big risks everyday at being maimed or killed and having to deal with rules and traditions of the trapper Guild and the Church itself that make the concept of right and wrong hard to fix on.
The mythology of demons and their classification is fairly easy to grasp which I was thankful for because having too much detail about all the evil hierarchy would have just lost me and taken away valuable pages from the action and emotional turmoil's of our main characters, Riley, Simon and Beck. Riley and Beck have intertwined lives and they often clash but you get the strong feeling that they would gel so well if only the two could get past their own fears of being vulnerable. It's the strengths they have as fighters that they both respect in each other but it's the main reason they find it so hard to be exposed to one another. Hard times but at least Riley has some other romantic ventures to follow and I truly approve of them. Simon is the "perfect" guy in Riley's trapper world and has a sense of morals that few people can claim to hold but you often wonder if he is just a bit too perfect or right for her at that moment in her life. Only time will tell.
I loved the ride of emotion and unfolding plot and never felt I was just drifting along in the story. It always felt like crashing waves of highs and lows and a real adventure that you didn't want to leave. It's an honest account of the hardships of losing loved ones as well as a fantasy world of demonic beings that need containing; just another job for a trapper to do. It's not ever seen as a glorified role either but a vocation and a calling for those that follow the path. There is honour among the those that do the hard graft and a sense of family. At the core of the story is a tale about society as a whole. The world is corrupt and not all the evil is in the form of demons but it's all about the way in which people survive the world and the other people within it.
All of the other reviewers seem to have given a great synopsis so i dont feel as though i have to do that, personally it irritates me as they give away the entire plot line before you have even read the book, and in my mind there is then no point in buying and reading it yourself.
I was lucky enough to receive this through the Amazon Vine program and i started reading it at 10am this morning and i didn't stop reading it until i turned over the last page and by then it was 1.32pm.
This book fascinated me from the very 1st page, yes its aimed at teenagers but i think anyone can read it if they are interested in the core subject, and as a paranormal junkie i am, even at the grand old age of 38.
It was so refreshing to disappear into a world that did not have sparkly vampires with no fangs, or unsubstantial moody characters, and the pace flowed nicely, it was not rushed, the fight scenes were well written and spaced out, the details were very rich and i can still remember what all the spheres are.
It's set slightly in the future so the problems they face in a economic downturn really rings true with our current climate, like rising fuel costs, and tax cuts, and cuts on government spending, and whilst it is not done in a preachy way, it does make you think about where our economy's may head if we carry on the way we are.
I found Atlanta very interesting to read about and i have to admit like some of the other reviewers have said, i did choke up in a few places.
Jana has created characters with oodles of substance and intrigue and i became very invested in the characters futures very quickly.
Obviously the book centres around 16 year old Riley Blackthorne, daughter of legendary Demon Trapper Paul Blackthorne, who whenever he is mentioned in the book all i can see is that actor of the same name who played the lead character in the Dresden Files.
The other main character's are 20 year old Denver Beck who if i read him right is Paul Walker drop dead gorgeous, and a young, very spiritual man, almost priestlike, called Simon, who is very sweet but a bit weak compared to Denver.
I was very intrigued with the ending and i am looking forward to reading the next one.
Well done Jana for writing a book with such a different perspective on the paranormal.
Personally i think this would make a fantastic movie, watch out Twilighters, Riley is coming to kick your ass !!
on 19 February 2011
Jana Oliver's debut is in no way a bad book, but in a YA market crowded with this type of fantasy, it doesn't offer anything unique or brilliant enough to make it a must-read.
The novel creates a bleak future world in Atlanta, Georgia in 2018. In the few years between now and then, the United States has been drawn into a war with Lucifer and the country is overrun with his demons. The main character is Riley Blackthorne: Riley's father is a master at trapping Hell's demons and under his tutelage, Riley is training to become a trapper herself.
Riley is the typical heroine you find in this genre (feisty yet vunerable and of course, the most special of all trappers) and the boys in her life are also familiar characters: one bad boy who drinks beer and says "Damn, girl" a lot and a sweet, good boy who falls for Riley instantly. The character's aren't unlikeable or annoying (well, maybe Beck, a little) but neither do they offer anything more than their archetypes. However, the alternative future that Oliver has dreamed up is easily the best thing about the book: Descriptions of the different categories of demons, the power struggle within the Trappers' League and the other creepy careers that have sprung up in this environment, like necromancy and holy water trafficking, were what kept my interest.
That and Oliver's writing style, which is easy and engaging. It was no trouble to finish this book, so it wasn't until after I did that I realised the biggest weakness of it was its plot - namely, that there really isn't one. A tragedy occurs fairly early on in the novel and the rest of the story follows Riley's trapper training and then nothing really happens until a big cliffhanger ending. Plenty of seeds are sown for future novels, it's true, but I think that even in a continuing series, each book should have its own story.
Don't pick this book up expecting to be blown away, but if you can never get enough of YA Fantasy, then it's a reasonable way to spend your time.