Book Review: Demon Road
Author: Derek Landy
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication Date: 28 August 2015
Page Count: 507
Source: ebook provided by NetGalley.com
Audience - Young Adult - Horror/Supernatural
If you are a lover of the TV show Supernatural, I think you will definitely enjoy this book. Derek Landy takes you on a road trip across the darker, supernatural parts of the US.
Demon Road is essentially one long road trip, starting in Orlando, Florida, driving all the way to Oregon, and culminating in New York City. Amber Lamont is just an average sixteen-year old girl, living a mediocre life until one night her parents and their friends try to kill her. She is soon on the run from them, after learning the horrible truth that her parents, her parents' friends, and she herself are all demons. She takes to the Demon Road, the dark underbelly road of America that all the Supernatural creatures travel on, along with her guide through it all, Milo, and his car which sometimes seems to be alive itself. The come across some memorable, good or bad, characters along the trip: Glen, the goofy Irish teen with a Deathmark on his hand, Edgar, a human journalist who seems to know everything about the Supernatural world, and Abigail, a little girl who is way more than she originally appears. Amber is on a ticking time clock, just trying to keep herself alive long enough to figure a way out of being her parents' next meal.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The plot is excellent, the imagination behind it so creative. I am, in fact, a lover of all things supernatural, including the TV show. This book has all the elements of a good, paranormal dark comedy. It has the demons and monsters, creatures of the night, innocent humans, the funny character to break up some of the intensity, the brooding male, and the heroine who was never meant to be, but somehow showed us that anyone can be a hero.
To have a main character that is in a sense a baddie herself, but trying desperately not to give in to that bad side is an intriguing and fun read. Amber is only 16, she's not one of the popular kids at school, she doesn't have the perfect body, or the perfect family life, there is nothing extraordinary about her...except that she all of the sudden has super strength, can turn red, and has horns. She is beautiful and strong and self-confident. There were times when I wanted to slap her because of her lack of courage, her always running away, but then at times she seemed to find her inner courage to keep going. Consistency would have been nice, but I understand why the author wrote it the way he did. At one point, Amber does give in to her bad side to save herself, and at first I was a bit concerned by this, I didn't want to see her become evil, but luckily it doesn't change her, she is still able to maintain control over it. Amber became a very strong and independent character in the end.
I loved meeting all the people and creatures Amber encountered, good and bad, along the way. They each were unique and well thought out. I say unique, but most of them were taken from lore and myths, but Landy added his own spin to them. I hope to meet up with several of them again in later books.
I would also say it was fun imagining each of these creatures as Landy described them through Amber's eyes. The scenery in the different areas of the US were well described: from the small town of Cascade Falls, Oregon, to the streets of New York, each one easy to imagine, especially to anyone who has traveled through the different states. Though after reading some scenes, I'm not sure I'm so keen to visit some places; you never know what is lurking in the dark.
I will say that if you are squeamish at all to detailed descriptions of violence and gore straight out of a horror novel, this might not be the book for you. Amber and her friends do quite a bit of fighting and it's not all pretty and quickly over. The scenes can be exceptionally graphic to the imagination. I actually found myself enjoying them, I thought they were well written and very easily imagined, they kept me on the edge of my seat at times.
The next book in the Demon Road series is called Desolation, and will be out in April of this year. I am definitely looking forward to continuing on this journey with Amber, and seeing where it will lead her next.
One Last Thought: Derek Landy is from Ireland, and I love that he has an Irish character in this book, and in a way he uses him to make jokes about how Americans supposedly view someone with an Irish accent. What also amuses me is that almost every person Amber and Milo meet along their journey seems to talk way too much and essentially give over their life stories in the first five minutes of meeting. It makes me wonder if that is how he perceives "back-road" or small town Americans. It's not written in a bad way, but comically, I think.
Favorite Thing About this Book: I love the wit and humor in Demon Road. Yes, it's a horror/supernatural story, but it has that dark humor that takes novels to another lever, in a good way. Landy knows, that with Amber and Milo, two people who don't talk much, he's going to need another voice on this long journey across the American landscape, and Glen provides that humorous voice that annoys them to the point they become great friends.
First Sentence: Twelve hours before Amber Lamont's parents tried to kill her, she was sitting between them in the principal's office, her hands in her lap, stifling all the things she wanted to say.
Favorite Character: Milo
Least Favorite Character: Alastair
Full of Landy’s trademark wit, action and razor sharp dialogue, DEMON ROAD kicks off with a shocking opener and never lets up the pace in an epic road-trip across the supernatural landscape of America. Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers: they’re all here. And the demons? Well, that’s where Amber comes in...Sixteen years old, smart and spirited, she’s just a normal American teenager until the lies are torn away and the demons reveal themselves.
Forced to go on the run, she hurtles from one threat to another, revealing a tapestry of terror woven into the very fabric of her life. Her only chance rests with her fellow travellers, who are not at all what they appear to be…