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?
I received an ARC of this book from Early Reviewers at Library Things. There is another cover of this book with a slightly different title but I think this is the version they are going with.
I found the story slow going in the beginning. I think that happens a lot with series. The author has to build the world, the characters have to be introduced and there is so much to learn, some of it to be filed away for another book in the series. I found myself putting this one down from time to time to read other books and then picking it up again. My main problem was I didn't like Riley. She had a crappy life, no doubt. But she was whiny and she complained a lot. She was supposed to be tough, but I just didn't feel it. She wasn't believable to me. She was very flat. It wasn't until the very last pages of the book that I really felt any of her emotions though there were plenty of opportunities for her emotions to be felt.
I didn't feel her connection to Simon either. I thought he was weird. He seemed more like a priest than a boyfriend, touching his cross all the time and praying. They would kiss, I'm not even sure if any tongue was involved (sorry for sounding so juvenile) and then he'd pull back and say she was such a temptation. Please! Their relationship was not believable to me either.
The only relationship that seemed real was the one she had with her father. He was concerned, stood up for her and had the "everything will be okay attitude" when she was facing some real trouble. He was her trainer and understandably kept her out of harms way. They seemed to share fond memories of better times and Riley had a good childhood until her mother got sick. Her father seemed to be an upstanding citizen, a born teacher and when his job teaching history ended he learned how to trap demons and became a teacher at that. I could feel the father daughter relationship.
Beck, Paul's trapping partner is another character that is just too over the top. Indiana Jones with a bad attitude and maybe a drinking problem. He wears leather and drinks whiskey or energy drinks and I can't tell if he has a crush on Riley or a fatherly instinct towards her. In any case, he does recognize she's in danger and saves her butt a few times.
There are a few more vile characters, all male, no likable females at all. It's a male dominated world. And they don't like a female in their world. Most of them anyway. Trapping a demon is disgusting, dirty hard and dangerous. Riley tries to trap a demon she's not trained to trap and gets into trouble on all fronts. When she isn't whining, Riley is either in high school, training to be a trapper or guarding something. (spoiler if I give it away). She's smart enough to discover a problem with the holy water the trapper's use to heal their wounds, protect themselves in a circle and stun the demon's and that will probably be part of the next book as it's only addressed at the very end. The action in the book is fast paced and I'd say from the middle on I was interested enough that I couldn't put it down. I had to find out what would happen next and who this guy was and what would she do about this. And Riley stopped whining as much and started doing. I guess she grew up some. I still didn't feel her and Simon together.
Another male character was introduced, Ori, a demon hunter, sanctioned by the Vatican, he kills demons instead of trapping them. They seem to be one step up on the ladder from trappers. Ori seems to be watching over Riley as well and she can't help but notice his hottiness. I know that probably isn't a word, but neither is eye candiness and that's they only other way he's described. Anyway, I can see a love triangle coming.
I think the series has promise. Beck and Riley are at constant odds. Tragedy has struck the Trappers Guild. A t.v. show depicting Demon Hunters is supposed to be coming to film the Trappers at work. And Simon and Riley, according to her are moving fast in their relationship. So, there is a lot of action, a little romance, and an interesting if sometimes slow story line. The story is better than the characters.
This book is definitely for an older YA as there is a very explicit scene with talk about pornography and inappropriate words referring to homosexuality and some physical abuse. I don't know what age that's appropriate for but there is also a potential rape scene.
Will I read the second book in the series? Yes. The author leaves enough questions unanswered that I'll want to see how she works things out. The ARC by the way, has a huge spoiler on the back which it doesn't seem like the book has so I could have explained a lot more if that piece of information had been revealed. In any case, I'd recommend it for the story line which is different from anything I've read.
Heather in Sandwich