Author: Derek Landy
I have to admit, I was really nervous about reading this book because I love Derek Landy’s debut series Skulduggery Pleasant so much that I thought this book could never live up to my now extremely high expectations. I am happy to say though, that I really enjoyed this book. The characters were cool, the setting was awesome (I was slightly worried about him changing from an Irish to an American setting but it was perfect for this book, gave it so much more scope) and the humour, whilst initially lacking, ended up being on-point Landy. I flew through this book pretty quickly, I mean it helped that I had a lot of free time after my exam finished, but I reckon even if I hadn’t this would have been a book that I couldn’t have put down. It turns out that demons are just as awesome as skeleton detectives! Here’s a short synopsis of the book:
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…
First off, I guess I should talk about the main heroine Amber. I really liked her, actually more than I liked Valkyrie. She’s average looking, overweight, awkward, kind of nerdy, far more of an every girl than Valkyrie and I could definitely relate to the awkward nerdy thing! She also makes some very stupid decisions, which I wanted to scream at her for, but again, I think that makes her more relatable. Oh and did I mention that she’s a demon? That’s awesome! I mean she goes around killing people but then she also feels bad about it, a demon with a conscience. I really liked that, her struggle between her normal teenage form and her demon form. A lot of this book, she’s struggling to figure out who she is and that’s very relatable to a lot of teenagers (although admittedly without the whole demon thing). She’s very endearing, she has a good sense of humour, she blabbers on a lot and yet she’s also this awesome demon who can take care of herself and doesn’t need to be rescued. She’s the perfect balance between kickass heroine and normal teenager. I was glad the demon reveal didn’t take too long, because we knew it was coming from the title of the book, so it would have been really irritating if we’d had to wait ages for something that we already knew to be revealed. She was particularly funny after she’d eaten someone (in her demon form) and was stumbling around, kind of drunk in a way. Anyway it was hilarious!
Milo I liked but he was definitely the straight man of the book, no sense of humour, kind of mysterious, you didn’t really know that much about him for most of the book. I was glad when his secrets were finally revealed because I had guessed at them already much earlier in the book. He was nice and all but I didn’t feel like I really got a good sense of his personality. Hopefully that comes through a bit more in the next book.
I didn’t really get what the deal with Imelda was, whether she just felt guilty for what her and Amber’s parents and their friends had done, or if it was something more than that, but by the end of the book, I figured she really did just feel guilty and she had formed an attachment to Amber which was why she didn’t want her parents to eat her. I felt really bad for what happened to her at the end, she didn’t deserve it.
The humour I felt was a little lacking, the humour in Skulduggery Pleasant felt a lot more natural whereas it didn’t so much in this book. Initially, the trademark Landy humour didn’t really seem to be there at all, but as the book got into it’s stride, there was definitely more. It still wasn’t quite as good as the Skulduggery Pleasant humour. Once Glen was introduced, the humour definitely increased! He was such an adorable doofus and I really loved him! I was really upset by what happened to him, hopefully he comes back in the next book in some way because he was my definite favourite character in this book. He was so sweet and endearing and goofy and I really loved him (though not going to lie, I’d probably want to slap him if I knew him in real life because I reckon what I found endearing in the book, I’d find annoying in real life!). I loved the dynamic between Glen, Milo and Amber, they make a great threesome, and whilst I still enjoyed the book when he wasn’t a part of it, I definitely enjoyed the parts that he was in more. The scene where he and Amber meet was so hilarious, I laughed so hard at that!
As part of their travels, they meet a serial killer called Dacre Shanks and it sounds weird to say, but I actually really liked him. Okay, so he was awful and devious and evil but he was also kind of funny and I really enjoyed his scenes! I felt really bad for poor Heather Medina (someone they meet whilst on the road), she has been through so much and goes through so much as a result of Amber, Milo and Glen coming to town, I felt really sorry for her. I found the dollhouse aspect of the Dacre Shanks storyline really creepy, but maybe that’s because I’ve watched too much Pretty Little Liars (fans of the show will know what I mean!). Still you want a serial killer to be creepy and Shanks definitely fit the bill.
There was definitely no lack of action scenes in this book, in fact there were lots of really great ones, but the book was nicely paced, so it wasn’t non-stop action all the time, but equally, it wasn’t just them in the car all the time either otherwise that would have been boring. There was also a nice mix of longer and shorter chapters, which definitely helped with the pacing. I have seen some reviews that said the book was too long, but I didn’t feel like that, I thought it was perfect.
Initially the book was just creepy enough, without being too stomach turning but there were some rather gory parts in the latter half that were a little difficult for me to read. But hey, it wouldn’t be a Derek Landy book if it didn’t turn my stomach at least once!
One thing I was missing was a map. Every good road trip book should have a map, and every time they went somewhere I found myself wanting to look to the front of the book and refer to a map and there wasn’t one! It’s not a big thing, I just feel like a map would have helped me a lot in figuring out where they were. I’m not American, I’m not all that familiar with the states aside from the ones that I’ve been to, so a map would have helped me out a lot. Besides what book isn’t improved by a map?
I was really confused by what happened to Gregory Buxton, either I skimmed over that bit or it just wasn’t confirmed what happened to him. It’s not a big deal, I’d just like to know I guess.
There was no romance here at all! It was so refreshing, I love it when I read a book and there turns out to be no romance whatsoever, it’s great. I mean romance would have been a little out of place anyway, so I’m glad Derek Landy didn’t try to force any in.
The Charger was awesome! A car with personality? It was something I never knew I needed in my life! I never thought I’d love a car, but the car was like another character in this book, it was great.
Overall, whilst I wouldn’t say that I loved, loved, loved this book in the same way that I loved Skulduggery Pleasant, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It was a really fun read, with characters that I really enjoyed reading about, and once it got into it’s stride, it was classic, trademark Landy. All I would say is that I hope there is more humour in the next book, but all in all, I really enjoyed this one and I’m really excited to read Desolation!
My Rating: 4/5
My next review will be of Demon Road’s sequel Desolation as I already have it and I can’t wait to see what happens next!