Friday, April 20, 2012

Reading Reflection: The Demon Trapper's Daughter

Forsaken (The Demon Trapper's Daughter #1)
by Jana Oliver
Published 7th 2011
P. 422
Rating: 3/5

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?

It took me a while to write this review.  Originally, this was not one of my favorite books this year, but there was something about it that drew me into the characters and storyline.  It was a fun read, and I can see myself going back to it on lazy Sundays. 

Riley Blackthorne is a 17-year-old living in Atlanta, Georgia after the government has basically gone bankrupt.  Her father, Paul, became a demon trapper after he lost his job as a teacher and her mother died of cancer several years back.  Paul is one of the best, and Riley plans to follow in his footsteps.  She is the first female apprentice on the road to becoming a demon trapper.  This is one of the things I liked about this book, she's doing something that isn't exactly typical, breaking barriers, and kicking butt. 

Now, Riley adores her father.  I love their relationship, but he dies early on in this story and it is heartbreaking.  He was such a genuinely good guy it effects a lot of people, especially Riley and Beck.  Beck is a young man only a few years older than Riley, who Paul devoted a lot of attention to, training him, looking out for him, and just being the father Beck never had.  Riley also had a serious crush on Beck a few years ago, and has hated him since.  When Paul dies, Beck feels he must take responsibility for Riley -- which she fights.

Alright, now I remember why it was so hard to write this review.  There are so many subplots and characters I can't cohesively write about everything.  There's a lot that goes on.  Too much.
  1. Riley warding Paul's body until the next full moon or someone can summon his body and use it, like the nice necromancer Mortimer or the really evil one.
  2. Riley trying to make ends meet and survive without parents.  Collectors are hounding her about the debt accrued from her mother's medical expenses. 
  3. Riley trying to prove herself to the Demon Trapper's Guild while under the apprenticeship of someone who drinks a lot and hates her and her father, Harper.
  4. All the demon's seem to acknowledge Riley by name, something that is not usual.
  5. Someone is tampering with the holy water and demons are being catched but not sold through the appropriate channels -- Riley finds this all out by having her BFF hack into her father's disc.  
  6. She still has to go to regular school 3 days a week and maintain her relationship with her non-demon trapper BFF Peter.
  7. She develops a romantic relationship with another apprentice: Simon.
  8. Beck is overbearing with her, trying to keep her safe, but going about it all wrong.
There is soo much going on that's it hard to talk about everything.  I like that she is the first female demon trapper, and really tries her best.  I don't like how she and Beck treat each other, it's very love hate.  Beck tries to be like an aggressive brother, but isn't.  He stifles Riley and she fights back.  I like Simon, he seems so sweet and exactly what she needs after losing her father -- someone to offer support without stifling her.  Now with Beck and Simon it may seem like a love triangle, but I'm not sure.  If Beck shrugs off that overbearing authoritative cloak, maybe.  I might actually prefer Beck to Simon him, he's much more masculine.  The things he does for Riley make him amazing in my book, he just has to lose that attitude.  Not too mention, Peter the so-called best friend, but I'm not convinced.  And... a dark handsome stranger that appears later on in the book, Ori.  He claims to be an independent demon hunter (not to be confused with a demon trapper), he saves Riley and the other demon trappers toward the end, but there seems to be chemistry building there. 

Too many boys!  Too many story angles!  That's what made this book difficult for me, too much!

I still liked it, after I sorted all the ideas and focused, but it was hard.  And there's more to come.  All these ideas go into the next book unresolved and the ending provided even more twists.  I don't know if I can handle more, but I wanna find out. 

All in all, it's an okay read.  I liked the setting and the world of demons created, especially the ninja-clad Magpie -- silly little shiny-stealing demon (hehe).  Is it bad that I want one?  There is ALOT going on, but I want to know how it all works out and will continue to read the series to find out. 


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