Title: Demon Road
Author: Derek Landy
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: 28th August 2015
Rating: 4/5 stars
Thanks to HarperCollins for the review copy!
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 …
I recently read the first two Skulduggery Pleasant books as part of my Dymocks101 challenge, but the writing was just that little bit too juvenile for me to truly enjoy. However, I liked Landy’s style and his themes of superstition, and was really excited to try this young adult story!
Amber is a brilliant character – a perfectly average sixteen-year-old with two MAJOR difference: her parents want to kill her and she can transform into a demon. Quiet, sensitive and teased about her appearance in her human form, her demon form makes her outstandingly beautiful, confident and rather aggressive. She was really relatable as a teenager dealing with these massive changes, and her voice felt really authentic. I also adored her large amounts of sarcasm.
Amber is on the run with a scary guy called Milo, in his scary car, driving on what he calls the ‘blackroads’ or the ‘Demon Road’. Milo seems to have a strange affinity with his car, and is dark and mysterious for the whole novel. My favourite character was Glen though, an Irishman with a Deathmark who hitchhikes with them on the blackroads. He provided some of the greatest humour I have ever seen in any fictional character.
Demons are the real deal in this book, with red skin, talons and deals with the Devil. There is a lot of satanic and urban legend stuff going on, and it is just so cool to see that kind of stuff in a young adult book. (Normally this stuff gives me nightmares, but Landy’s humorous take makes it palatable and highly intriguing!) It is a much better take on the supernatural trope, than the prolific vampire novels attempting to modernise and de-scarify dark creatures.
An absolute riot from start to finish, with lots of death and destruction thrown in (some a bit devasting!), Demon Road is a marvellous book which will attract a stack of new Derek Landy fans, as well as satisfying the old. Well-paced and just totally epic, anyone even slightly interested in the supernatural will love this book.