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VINE VOICEon 18 March 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a genre I've been reading a lot of lately, and I find the quality veers wildly from exellent to execrable. As the mother of a daughter approaching her tweens, one of the trends I like least in the better-known offerings (Twilight has a lot to answer for!) is for the heroines to be passive, lovesick schoolgirls, waiting wide-eyed for their superpowered boyfriends to tell them what's going on and what to do about it. Not so here. Riley Blackthorne is a smart, tough, independent heroine in the best Buffy tradition, and IMO a great role model for the Y end of the YA audience. Everything about her is believable and likeable, from her bravery facing demons, to the way she stands up to the chauvenistic guild of demon trappers (of whom she's the only female), to her grief at some of the events of the story, and her often conflicting feelings about the several love interests. The plot is tight, the demon-invaded Atlanta creepily believable, and though the author gives us plenty to think about, the action never lags. Reminiscent of L.A. Weatherly's 'Angel', in the best sense - I'm looking forward to further books, and whether teen or thirty-something, I recommend this unreservedly.
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OK, you happen to like author like Lili Saintcrow and Kelley Armstrong but the wait between their next Urban Fantasy Young Adult title feels like it's an age away so what are you going to do? Well worry no longer, we have this title by Jana Oliver to recommend. It not only features a kick ass heroine but also one who has everyday worries, has some great one liners and to be honest is one that definitely kicks demon butt.

Add to this a lead female character that the reader can associate with, some great prose as well as enough action to sate a person with ADHD and you know that its definitely a title to keep you going. Finally, back that up with a cracking storyline some wonderfully humorous moments and having to live up to a living legend who's also your Dad and you know that it's a book to enthuse any young reader. One of my early recommendations for this year and I can't wait for part two.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Author Jana Oliver takes you into a world of demons and magic where anything of value is ruthlessly traded including the dead who are brought back to serve as status symbols and slaves to the rich. The story follows newly orphaned seventeen year old Riley; a female apprentice demon trapper trying hard to make it in an exclusive old boy's domain. You feel Riley's heartache and every bruise as she battles both demons and bitchy class mates.

The author cleverly describes this strange world and makes you believe that it could actually exist. This is the first book of a trilogy; it is exiting, cleverly written and paced. It is intended for the teenage reader but I think anyone interested in the make-believe world of demons and magic will enjoy reading it. I can recommend it and can't wait to see what happens to Riley in future editions.
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VINE VOICEon 24 November 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was hoping that this book would be good, by good, I was hoping for readable. But this book was better than good, which isn't surprising as the author gives acknowledgments to Ilona and Gordon Andrews amongst others. Brilliantly written characters, great futuristic world building and a gripping and unpredictable plot. I was hooked and I loved it. I can't wait for the next books in the trilogy. I usually hate books which have angelic characters appearing whether they are secondary characters or not, but the writing is too sharp for me to find fault and I could hardly tear myself from the plot for long enough to do boring every day things like cooking; and checking I had my keys before leaving the house.
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The book centers around Riley, a 17 year old girl who wants to become a demon trapper just like her father. She splits school with working as the only female apprentice demon trapper with her dad in order to pay off the medical bills run up from treating her late mother. The good news is, with human society disrupted by Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta's local Trappers' Guild needs all the help they can get - even from a girl. When she's not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley's out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils - Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Riley is working a standard job on a Grade One demon in the school library when something goes terribly wrong, a Grade Five pops up and overpowers her in a matter of seconds. On top of that something terrible happens to Riley's dad on what was supposed to be a routine job and Riley and her dads best friend and apprentice, Beck, are subsequently left to pick up the pieces.

I was rather surprised by how much I enjoyed this book, it is one of the most refreshing books I have read in a long time. Riley introduces us to a world where magic, demons, angels, vampires and other paranormal creatures are common knowledge and accepted by the world around them. What with most fantasy books being set in a world hidden from everyday people, where only a select few know about it, I found this to be incredibly intriguing.

I am a massive fan of all paranormal and fantasy books but this one is different on so many levels. It is about a human 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 character Riley is lovable and you can relate to her through the tragedies her life has and the feelings she has. She is a real character because she has flaws and issues just like real people.

There is, I'm afraid a bit of a love triangle going on in the book between Riley, Simon, and Beck, but the intrigue of Riley's keeps it refreshing and prevents it from being sickening. And then towards the end of the book we are introduced to another character Ori, and it is hinted to that there may be more to be seen between Riley and him in the following novels.

Beck was not only Riley's dads apprentice but also his best friend. When something happens to Paul, Beck cant help but blame himself. He does everything that he can to help Riley out even through she doesn't want his help at all. I actually liked Beck, his personality was very strong and his voice was unique

Simon on the other hand is the 'good boy', the knight in shinning armor. He wants to protect Riley while still giving her space and not cramping her style. If you have ever seen the MTV show Awkward, I can liken him to the character Jake.

Good vs. evil, a world infested with creatures from hell, Holy Water, and a lot more. This world is bursting with creativity. It's dark and grim, yet awesomely intriguing. I will certainly be picking up the rest of the series.
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on 31 October 2013
Ohmigod, ohmigod, OHMIGOD. I can't breathe, this was so freaking awesome. I don't know where to begin to describe it.

Riley takes the wrath she deserves from the hunters senior to her when she deserves it but she sure as hell isn't going to take it when it's uncalled for. She stands up and fights when she should and she know when to hold he tongue. Well, sometimes she know when to hold her tongue. She's got wits and she's stronger than most, she's been dealing with more death and loss a seventeen year old ever should. And she's not giving up, she going to prove everyone wrong about her just for the heck of it.

An Beck, my misunderstood hero. This man just get's to me. Riley is all about Simon, which I just don't get. He's sweet and all but he's not right for her, why can't she see that?! Beck on the other hand, oh boy. Somewhere he's got a sweet side, it just hidden beneath a lot of ego, but he's got her back even when she acts like a bitch. Simon would flake on you girl, go with Beck. I need you to go with Beck, please Riley? An Ori, how does Ori fit in with all this? God, I can't wait until I get my hands on the second book and see how all of this goes down.

Jana writes a really good dystpian, we get to know the setting bit by bit and she creates a world without doubt. I can clearly see little furry demon running around, although, in my head they're kinda cute. At least the small ones, the human-eating ones, not so much. It's so very vivid, and gripping, and exciting, and sometimes disgusting. I cried in public while reading it, believe me it wasn't pretty.

I read this on my commute to and from work but by the second day and first quarter of the book I just couldn't put it down. I was literally reading as I was walking from the bus stop to my apartment and barely put it down to take off my huge winter coat and boots. Then I made it straight for the couch and finished the book. That's how unputdownable it was!
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on 17 November 2012
The main protagonist Riley is a very independent and feisty young girl. Despite the fact that so many people don't think she can or should be a Demon Trapper, Riley is determined to prove them all wrong. She's had a hard life but she still keeps picking herself up and carrying on. It was also good to see a kick ass heroine cry and show her vulnerable side. I have to admit though, she might have meant well but her insistence of doing things her way and fend for herself (often to spite Beck) didn't always work out best.

I was impressed and surprised by the world building which was added in throughout the story. Riley lives in Atlanta, where poverty is rife, unemployment is the norm and people will steal anything and everything including odd bits of metal. Schools are run from old coffee shops because there is so little government funding. Oliver has taken the current economic climate and recession and pushed it into something dangerous, gritty and almost depressing. And in Riley's Atlanta, demons run riot. Usually they are on their own, but things have started to change. Most of these demons were pretty scary, able to whip up tornadoes and such. But I found myself liking the little magpie in Riley's apartments, because he didn't seem intentionally mean or horrible. In fact he seemed sweet and endearing, and I would have loved to seen him a bit more. I'm excited to see what happens with the demons in the next books - can the perceptions of them change, and can the demon vs demon hunter relationship change?

When it came to Beck, Riley was a bit of an idiot quite frankly. She couldn't get past the fact that he had 'rejected' her years ago and that he had a strong relationship with her father. She was mean to him, grumpy, and often judged his actions without thinking. With some parts of the story told by Beck, I could see that he was in fact a decent guy that had overcome some pretty horrible stuff. He was tough, rugged but protective of Riley. I may even go so far to say I liked him a lot.

The three main men in Riley's life were the aforementioned Beck, Simon her new boyfriend, and the mysterious Ori. Each was very different. Whilst Beck swigged down beers, Simon was thinking about the religious implications of things. Whilst I didn't begrudge him being religious in the slightest, his tendency to think that all demons were automatically evil rubbed me up the wrong way. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens between Riley, Beck, Ori and Simon, in their big love...square...?

Forsaken is a dark, kick ass urban fantasy and a great start to the Demon Trappers series.
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VINE VOICEon 22 May 2012
This YA novel has several good points to recommend it firstly its a little diferent than the glut of werewolf/vampire/faery love triangles out on the market as it deals with the only female Demon Trapper in a dystopian future society disrupted by arcane magics and poverty.

The futuristic twists add a new dimension to the story and Riley Blackthorne is a sympathetic character as a 17 year old struggling to follow in her father's footsteps in the male dominated field of demon trapping.

I liked Riley's character and her reactions and feelings to situations seemed realistic from her awkward relationship with her father's apprentice Beck being a mix of crush, jealousy and hostility to her grief at her father's death.

The novel is well thought out in terms of world building, setting and depictions of life in 2018 with the use of magic and existence of demons being particularly well described and explored. The scenes were she fends off necromancers who want to want to resurrect her father into a Deader ( a rich person's zombie slave) were both sad and believably scary.

For me the novel lost some points when it introduced Simon as another potential love interest and Riley's sudden coming into her powers felt a little Mary Sue-ish for my taste.

Overall Jana Oliver's plot and world building are excellent and this did intrigue me enough to want to read the next installment. However, one of Oliver's weaknesses is pace and structure as at times the story seemed to drag and the inclusion of multiple character perspectives sometimes made for a frustrating and choppy feeling read when I wanted to see more of Jenna's viewpoint.

Overall this is a good read and although it suffers slightly from being a first novel and needing to spend a long time setting the scene I am interested to see what Oliver can do with the next books when she is free to really explore action and plot.
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Riley is the only female apprentice Demon Trapper and was only accepted because her father is one of the best. There is still a lot of resentment amongst the other Trappers who don't think a female should be allowed to join them but Riley is determined to prove she can be just as good as they are. When her father is killed by a demon Riley must combine her training with protecting his body from the necromancers who wish to raise him from the dead to bring him back as a servant. Is there anyone she can rely on to help her?

Forsaken (released in the US as The Demon Trapper's Daughter) is a fantastic debut from Jana Oliver that will have you hooked from the very first page. Set in the near future where demons are roaming the earth the only thing protecting us are the Trappers who catch them or the church Hunters who kill them. The action is fast paced, the world Jana has created is interesting and populated with all kinds of demonic creatures and I loved the main characters.

Riley and the rest of the Trappers don't have any supernatural abilities, they are all normal humans and have to train hard to fight the demons that are causing chaos in the world. They do have some pretty cool weapons to play with but it is their training that will keep them alive - if they're lucky. It is easy to like Riley, she is a girl who has to work twice as hard to be seen as an equal in the man's world of trapping. Although a lot of the other Trappers don't think she should be allowed to be an apprentice she does have a few allies amongst them, mainly her father's closest friends and his previous apprentice Beck.

I have to say right now I love Beck! Riley doesn't have the best relationship with him - she is too embarrassed that he discovered she had a crush on him a few years earlier and knocked her back - but when it comes down to it she knows he is someone she can turn to. Beck can be snarky and sarcastic but he cares for Riley and has her back against the other Trappers. I loved the fact that although he is protective of her he doesn't try to smother her - he knows she is capable and works with her to strengthen her abilities so she can look after herself rather than try to keep her hidden away from danger.

The one thing I wasn't too keen on was the triangle, in case you haven't already guessed I'm on team Beck so it isn't hard to guess who I'm routing for. I didn't really connect with Simon at all, he didn't hold my interest and there is something about him that makes me wary, I just don't trust him. It remains to be seen if there is any reason for my feelings towards him but I'm looking forward to continuing the series to find out. I'm also not too sure what to make of Ori who we aren't really introduced to until near the end of the book. I have my suspicions about him too but I can't really say what they are without giving spoilers.

I've already said what a fantastic debut Forsaken is and I'm incredibly excited to see where Jana Oliver takes the series next. This is a book I'd highly recommend to urban fantasy and dystopian fans and one I'm really looking forward to continuing.
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on 29 July 2011
Forsaken centres on the life of Riley Blackthorne, a seventeen year old `demon trapper' apprentice whose rather unusual and exceedingly dangerous job involves trapping demons, of which are ranked down from a relatively harmless Grade 1 right up to the devilishly dangerous Grade 5 archfiends, and selling them on. She hopes to someday become a master trapper like her father, but that means working her way through the ranks and as the only female in an all-male world, that will not be easy.

I was rather eager to begin reading this book as it sounded very intriguing and I have to say it certainly did not disappoint - the story grips you from the first few chapters, though it is a little slow at first, and is really action-packed, not to mention touching, fast-paced and believable - it has everything you could hope for in a book! Riley is a really spunky, kick-ass and likable character who is very well written and Beck & Simon were equally brilliant, though I found Beck more likeable and Simon just a little bit creepy.

As well as good parts to every story, there are also bad parts; but I'm genuinely struggling to think of a single bad part (although quite a few things were unexplained) to this fab novel which is one of the most unique and brilliant books I have read this past year. I especially love the seamless inclusion of the demons as though they were an everyday nuisance; though I found it a teensy-bit confusing as to how or why demons infiltrated the earth, but I'm sure that will be explained in the coming books. All in all I absolutely recommend this book and cannot wait to read the forthcoming books in the trilogy, which has incredible promise.
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