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?
(Cover and description taken from Goodreads)
I’ll admit I was a bit sceptical about the Demon Trappers series to begin with. There’s a plethora of young adult novels featuring vampires, demons and the like and it’s often difficult to tell whether a book is merely jumping on the bandwagon or has something new to say. But Jana Oliver’s series is something different: a mix of urban fantasy, supernatural romance, and futuristic dystopia, set in a future Atlanta crippled by debt and infested with demons.
Riley is a demon trapper, and as the only female in the Guild, she’s used to having to prove her worth. But when her father is killed by a demon, she finds herself facing some monumental problems. She has to sit vigil by her father’s grave every night, in order to prevent her father’s body being stolen and reanimated by necromancers as a slave. She has to deal with an unpredictably violent mentor. And she has to somehow pay the rent.
Fiercely independent, Riley refuses help from fellow trapper, war veteran Beck, who she sees as like an annoying parent figure, despite having had a crush on him some years previously. She attempts to trap demons alone in order to get enough money together to survive on, but it’s not easy- and for some reason, demons keep targeting her. It becomes clear that her father was involved in something, and that they saw him as a threat, but no one can predict the consequences…
It’s refreshing to read a genuinely original urban fantasy. Although as the first in the series Forsaken is more setup-based, with the sequels promising to deliver more action, it didn’t feel as if anything was compromised. The story was great, the plot twists unexpected, and although some of the characters appear to fall into stereotypical roles (i.e. mysterious bad boy; seemingly perfect guy, etc), I have a feeling Olivier intends to contradict our expectations (having now read the second in the series, I can confirm that my hunch was right!). Riley is a great protagonist, feisty and strong, and despite the attempts of the guys in her life to protect her, she isn’t having any of it.
Whilst in my opinion it can’t quite match up to Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, The Demon Trappers creates a world that’s both fascinating and familiar. The stage is being set for a repeat of the battle of Heaven and Hell- and I, for one, want to be there to see it.