Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Review - The Demon Trappers: Forgiven by Jana Oliver

Forgiven (The Demon Trappers, #3)

Goodreads description: Riley Blackthorne. Kicking hell’s ass one demon at a time...

Riley has made a bargain with Heaven, and now they've come to collect.

Lucifer's finest are ruling the streets and it seems that Armageddon might be even closer than Riley imagined. But with her soul and her heart in play it's all she can do to keep herself alive, let alone save the world. Riley's not afraid of kicking some major demon butt, but when it comes to a battle between Heaven and Hell, she might need a little help...

I reviewed the first two in this series a while back but it’s taken me some time to get round to reading the third Demon Trappers book, Forgiven. This is a fantastic series following Riley Blackthorne as she tries to carve a path as a demon trapper in a hellspawn-infested future Atlanta. Riley’s facing some pretty big problems – she’s been tricked into making a bargain with Hell, and alongside the deal she made with Heaven to save her ex, that means she’s caught right in the middle of the war between the two. The Demon Hunters from the Vatican are in the city, killing every demon in sight. And it seems the person responsible for reanimating her father’s dead body is not a necromancer, but Lucifer himself, who has claimed Paul Blackthorne’s soul. Now Riley’s wanted by the demon hunters, and Beck has been arrested on suspicion of helping her. Meanwhile, other evil plans are afoot: someone is counterfeiting Holy Water, which is fatal to demons, and a necromancer is breaking all the rules…

This is an action-packed third instalment in the series, even better than the first two. Jana Oliver gives us a deeper insight into the world of the Demon Trappers, in which Heaven and Hell are fact and demons are sent to Earth by both sides to test humanity. The two sides, the angels and the fallen, are engaged in a constant conflict which keeps an uneasy balance, but there are rumours of a Fallen intending to usurp Lucifer and take his place. There are  a lot of angel-themed books around, but this series is one of the strongest – primarily, I think, because it doesn’t focus on romance. There are several potential love interests in the series, but after Simon, her ex, dumped her out of paranoia that she was working for the Devil, and her last lover turned out to be something else entirely, Riley’s far from willing to trust easily again. Which is why she and Beck are so perfect for each other. In Forgiven, we really get to see their relationship develop as they learn to trust each other despite each other’s histories – and despite Beck’s ex-lover, a reporter, being determined to ruin his life. The way they act around each other is at times hilarious to watch, at other times heart-wrenching. And oh God, the ending!

The plot races along and the characters are engaging and three-dimensional and see a lot of development in Forgiven. The story world remains engaging and highly original - demon trappers and hunters exist alongside witches and necromancers, and Heaven and Hell do battle on Earth. I love Riley as a protagonist – she’s so fierce and strong, and always speaks her mind no matter the consequences. She’s only an apprentice, yet she’s somehow supposed to prevent Armageddon, and her obligation puts her in constant danger from demons. But she faces her enemies head-on, and her inner strength and determination, despite making bad choices sometimes, make her a sympathetic protagonist. The other characters are just as engaging, from the surly but tortured Beck to the polite necromancer Mort.

This is one of the best end-of-the world series out there – witty, suspenseful, and thoroughly engaging. Prepare for an edge-of-your-seat read – one that will have you on tenterhooks for the final book!

Rating: *****

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