The Demon Trapper’s Daughter by Jana Oliver

I used to believe that I’m the only person who doesn’t like to watch Superbowl. So when I decided to take myself out for the evening, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were many people spending time outdoors on Superbowl Sunday. For some reason, I was concerned that the whole city would be shut down, so I googled “What to do during Superbowl” and on a generic website came across the suggestion to read The Demon Trapper’s Daughter. A quick google of the book itself showed that it’s a recently published book that has received good reviews.

These past few years have seen a sudden increase in fantasy fiction. Just look at the popularity of the Harry Potter or Twilight series, or for that matter the Sookie Stackhouse books. What I liked at first glance about Oliver’s book is that it was not about vampires! Oliver creates a world in 2018 where demons from the underworld run free on earth. This has resulted in the Guild of Demon Trappers, a group of people who trap demons and sell them to the Church. In this imagined world, obviously, there is Hell and Heaven – the demons are minions of Lucifer and sometimes angels appear as messengers of God. The protagonist of the book is Riley Blackthorne, whose father is a Master demon trapper. When Riley’s first solo mission to trap a grade three demon goes awry, it’s just an indication of how her life is going to be a falling house of cards.

Like most fantasy fiction, Demon Trapper’s Daughter isn’t particularly brilliant in its writing. The 17 year old protagonist is impetuous and borderline annoying. But at the same time, her age could be considered a reason why she acts the way she does. Most of Riley’s friends are boys, and that she is in the Demon Trapper’s Guild, a majorly male profession, indicates that she is lonely in her girlhood. I wish the writer had introduced a female friend character for Riley, to balance out the testosterone flying around! But Riley’s relations with each of the major male characters she interacts with are interesting and well-developed, especially the one with Denver Beck, who is her father’s apprentice and closest friend. The on-going tension and head-butting between these two characters is what keeps the story interesting. I think Oliver does a decent job of creating a new world and casting enough light on the characters and their complex lives. Since this book is a part of a series, there’s room left for more creativity in the next books.

On a final note, I must admit that one of the biggest reasons I wanted to read the book is because it was set in Atlanta. It was fun to read about Piedmont Park, Five Points Station, Underground Atlanta, MARTA, and other famous locations of the city, although it was in the context of a dreadful future where demons might be lurking in the dark. It’s always fun to read about places you’ve seen yourself, and so if you’ve ever lived or been to Atlanta, you might enjoy reading this book.

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