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Desdaemona (Daemonomicon) Paperback – 1 Jun 2011
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About the Author
Ben Macallan is the boy your mother warned you about, the one with the motorbike and the cool clothes and the dangerous superpowers. He may be watching you, but you ll never know.
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Fay's got good reason to have hidden herself as well as she has, and Jordan and Desi aren't the only ones hunting her. As they search for Fay, they find all too many enemies amongst the world of the supernatural -- the hunters on Fay's trail, the hunters on Jordan's trail, and the enemies Jordan and Desi make along the way. The result is an ever-increasing escalation of power and Powers they have to defeat or escape from, and a roller-coaster ride through a sharply crafted world where the supernatural can be found down any alley.
What makes this book so good for me is that Macallan/Brenchley takes British and Irish mythology, polishes new facets on it, and sets it to perfection in a contemporary urban English landscape. And he does it with strong characters and snappy social observation, in a story that unfolds to show rather than tell exactly who and what Jordan and Desi really are. It's often very funny, and sometimes terrifying, and occasionally heartbreaking; all the more so because it shows how the monsters can be only too human.
The ending begs for another novel, and indeed there are the concepts for two more living inside the author's head, though whether they see the light of day is another matter. But the book is complete in itself, a fabulous modern twist on old fables.
The book follows the hero, Jordan, stuck at age 17 (for a reason) as he continues running from a mysterious enemy, and as he joins up with the seductive and hard kicking heroine, Desdaemona. The identities and destinies of both of them are in the mix here, and even at the end we have questions still to be answered (so release of the sequel, Pandaemonium, has been a particular joy), but there's no doubt the ride has been an exhilarating one.
Macallan has shown that fast-paced narrative, interesting characterisation, more or less constant action and atmospheric settings don't just have to be the preserve of acclaimed Young Adult writers like Horowitz and Higson. This book was a gem - a thoroughly satisfying novel.
Which, to be honest, is pretty much what I've come to expect from Solaris. As usual, they don't compromise on talent but with so many titles treading along a well-worn path, the ones released by this publisher like to hack their way through the undergrowth to create something different. All in its well done, it has some great prose and with a protagonist that many will be able to associate with it's a title that deserves to be explored at the very least.