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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Author: Jana Oliver
Pages: 340
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Series or Standalone: 1st in series
Genre: YA Paranormal
Reading Level: 15+ yrs old
Dominant Themes: Demons
Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and 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. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?
**Slight Spoilers**
When I first started reading The Demon Trapper’s Daughter, I was instantly reminded of the novel Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow, which is a great thing because I LOVED Strange Angels. The comparison stands throughout the whole book, but they’re not so overtly similar that it overshadowed The Demon Trapper’s Daughter. This novel can definitely stand on it’s own in this genre.

The beginning of the book throws you right into the action with Riley, and the pace never slows down. She’s hunting a demon in a college library, and everyone is so chill about it. This begins to give the reader a view of the world that we’re just getting into, how demons are an everyday occurrence, and being a Demon Trapper is actually a paying profession.

Riley is a great heroine. She’s tough and can hold her own against the boys, especially in a profession where girls are taboo and unaccepted. This is a constant struggle for her throughout the book, and she’s even abused because of it. But she’s strong, and can overcome it. Riley faces poverty, harassment, the loss of both of her parents, and is being hunted by demons, yet she still manages to keep her head in the game. The relationship she had with her dad was both heartwarming, and heartbreaking. He couldn’t be home all the time, and Riley was left alone although she craves being with her dad, and he craves it too. And then… she never got to spend more time with him. Now Riley has to sit vigil at his grave to make sure that no necromancers come to try and reanimate her father’s corpse.

Beck was her father’s former apprentice and now his trapping buddy. Riley had the hots for Beck when she was 15, but he ignored her to not cause trouble (he’s older by 5 years). Now she just hates him. But when everything starts going bad, Beck is the only one Riley has left. I loved Beck. At the beginning, his accent made me want to strangle him. Reading Ya in place of you, and yer in place of your was aggravating and I thought he sounded like a pirate at first. But eventually I got used to it,
and I started thinking it was hot. (Seriously, thanks to this book I have a major Southern accent fetish.) As a character, Beck was a jerk at times, and sweet at others. He was a total badass 100% of the time, which is why I took an instant liking to him. I knew that somewhere inside him he had feelings for Riley. I really can’t wait to see what happens next between them.

Simon was… well, I didn’t care much for Simon. In my mind, Simon was completely eclipsed by Beck, even though Riley was romatically interested in Simon. He was cute and really sweet and thoughtful, but… he was bland. As Riley put it, “a Nice Catholic Boy.” There was no spark of giddiness in me when I was reading about Riley and him together, although I still liked him as a character. I just think he should stay in the “friend zone.”

The world itself is very well thought out and executed. The details about how life was tied together the whole novel. The Demon Trapper’s Daughter takes place not too far in the future, 2018. But it shows how quickly things can degenerate. Metal is a precious, and expensive commodity. Schools are no longer functional as we know them today, instead being held in abandoned grocery stores and old Starbucks shops. Riley even mentions once that she misses having a Mac laptop and other technology that is commonplace for us, but is impossible to have in her time. Demons are running amuck, doing everything from stealing shiny objects and destroying books to eating people and causing deadly weather storms. A very different future that any of us envision, but it’s all put together so well that I can almost believe it’s possible. If it does happen, sign me up for demon hunting!

Another thing I’m interested to see how it plays out in the next books is the Demon Hunters. I know they’ll play a bigger role, and I can’t wait to see what it is. Especially about Ori.

This series really has so much potential to be the “Next Big Thing” in YA. It’s got the fantastic characters, a kick ass plot, and an interesting world full of demons and walking dead people. What could be better?

In the spirit of Riley: “Debut author scores!” I give this novel 5 of 5 stars.


  1. This book looks really good! Thanks for the review:) Definitely on the to buy list.

  2. My review is coming out on this tomorrow and I said basically the same things. This book was beyond amazing and I've got the hots for Beck too! Great review!

  3. It sounds awesome!!! It was already on my TBR pile but now it skipped a few ahead.
    Great Review!

  4. Great points made. What is it about male characters named Riley that you melt for? I've got this on my TBR list now. I've not read the book by St. Crow, so I should be good to go. ;)

  5. I saw loads of reviews on this book today and most of them said it was a good read. This book features something new in paranormal community, I think, and am hoping that I'll manage to snatch a copy pretty soon.

    I'm here from the comment exchange program.
    Hope you have a great week! Happy reading =)

  6. Thanks for the review!! This is on my TBR list now!!


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