Book Review: The Demon Trapper’s Daughter by Jana Oliver

OnAPaleStar September 30, 2011 No Comments »
The Demon Trapper’s Daughter
Jana Oliver
Urban fantasy
February 2011
St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN: 978-0-312-61478-2
340 pages
format: trade paperback
acquired: purchasedThis review originally appeared at On a Pale Star.The Blurb, from Goodreads:
Demon Trapper Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself—and that’s exactly what Lucifer is counting on…

It’s the year 2018, and with human society seriously disrupted by the economic upheavals of the previous decade, Lucifer has increased the number of demons in all major cities. Atlanta is no exception. Fortunately, humans are protected by Demon Trappers, who work to keep homes and streets safe from the things that go bump in the night. Seventeen-year-old Riley, only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing attraction to fellow Trapper apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving citizens from Grade One Hellspawn. Business as usual, really, for a demon-trapping teen. When a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood, she realizes that she’s caught in the middle of a battle between Heaven and Hell.

The review:
I picked up The Demon Trapper’s Daughter because I stopped by Oliver’s table at a small convention earlier this year and chatted with her for a little while. She’s fantastic to talk with, so I scooped up the first book in her new series. I’m so very glad I did. I love the way she writes Riley, I like the wider setting–demons and angels walking the Earth!–and I’m tickled to see a city I’ve lived in and near be the setting.

We’re introduced to Riley when she’s on an assignment to trap a grade one demon–a little thing that sounds adorable, even if it does destroy books and happens to be, you know, a demon. What should be a typical and routine trapping suitable for a demon trapper apprentice turns into chaos. I was horrified at the damage done to a library I’m awe of…. and I was hooked.

Riley is just the right amount of stubborn, unsure, and stereotypical teenage girl. She’s not too precocious (she’s still trying to figure out the opposite sex) or scarily smart (it takes clues left behind by her father for her to get started down the road of solving a mystery that threatens the lives of all demon trappers) but she isn’t dumb, either. Once she has those clues, she pushes through the puzzle, putting pieces together until she has a solid, basic, picture. She’s determined to succeed despite the numerous obstacles set in front of her, and this is both endearing to me as a reader and dangerous to her personal safety.

In sum: Riley kicks but. I spent the entire novel cheering for her. This means, of course, that I’m kicking myself for not picking up book two in the series (Soul Thief) at Dragon*Con earlier this month, when I could’ve bought it from Jana Oliver herself and gotten it signed. Now I have to find it in a bookstore, and soon! I have to know what happens next, because The Demon Trapper’s Daughter ends in a spectacular fashion.

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