Author: David Douglas
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Pub Date: December 2009, One Five One Press
Paperback, 278 pages
Book source: Review copy received from the author--many thanks!
Senn Morel lives in fear of demons. But when they butcher his clan and possess his mother, he vows to use his newfound magic to take vengeance on these demon spirits that have invaded his world.
Lieh Morel is along for the ride, possessed by a bloodthirsty killer. As Lieh's captor demons chase her son across the continent of Kartus, using her magic to wreak havoc along the way, she hopes to avoid a violent confrontation that could kill them both.
The demon Xiuhcoatl is an experienced kidnapper, working for the lord of the demons-Senn's father. As he aids Lieh's possessors in tracking down Senn, he learns that not all demon spirits think the same way about their return to the physical world.
Demon's Bane follows the Morels on the high seas, across rolling plains, and through thick forests in a thrilling tale filled with romance and betrayal. But the real question is, who will take control of Kartus . . . and who will end up dead?
This is a promising first book from David Douglas, who was kind enough to send me a copy of Demon's Bane for review. While I can't say that I loved this book, I did enjoy the fresh look at magic, demons, and spirits. Douglas's magic (in all of its forms) has a science to it, and the level of detail with which he has developed this system is impressive as you read this story. Demon's Bane is paced nicely--I never felt like the story was dragging, nor did it rush by, leaving me feeling lost the way some fantasy stories can if not carefully thought out. Douglas has clearly found a talent for storytelling.
In the end, there were a few things about Demon's Bane that didn't work for me, and ultimately caused me to feel more neutral about the book overall. The romance in the story felt like it was centered around sex and I just did not find myself wanting to read about that--it wasn't what I was looking for in this book. Honestly, I guess sex is just not something I ever look to read about in a fantasy novel. But I will say this: much is left to the imagination so it is not really as off-putting as it could be. I also found the writing to be inconsistent--more often than not it was very strong, but on occasion I found it weaker in spots and out of character with the rest of the story, if that makes sense. The cast of characters is good (a few, like Senn, shine), and with further development they could be great.
Demon's Bane is certainly a very worthy debut novel. I think fantasy-lovers will enjoy it; particularly Douglas's spin on magic and his work with demons and spirits. And I also know that many readers will probably not share some of my qualms about the novel and will enjoy it more than I did. I am grateful to Mr. Douglas for giving me the opportunity to read his first work, and look forward to more from him down the road!
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