Title: Forsaken (The Demon Trappers #1)
Author: Jana Oliver
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date: February 7th 2011
Taken from Goodreads
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?
In my efforts to make a dent in my TBR piles, I picked up this book only hoping to reduce the pile a little further. I didn't have any great hopes, 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 not talking sex, 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. Check back tomorrow for my review of Forbidden, the second book in the series.