Double Review: ‘Demon Road’ and ‘Desolation’ (Books 1-2 of the ‘Demon Road’ Trilogy’ by Derek Landy

Blurb for ‘Demon Road’ from GoodReads.com:

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…

Review:

I’d read quite a bit of Derek Landy’s ‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ series- you can read my reviews of the first and second books in the series here– so I thought I was fairly used to Landy’s signature mix of horror and humour, but this was pretty damn bloody- the gore is very near the knuckle for a horror-hating fantasy-geek snowflake like me, and I found it difficult to stomach. I also felt the ‘serial killer characters’ were so one-dimensional and unusually plentiful it felt a bit as though they were rolled out on a conveyor belt. I did like the humour- to be honest, it was a welcome relief- but I found the main ‘funny’ character, Glen, pretty irritating at times, and I wish his whole ‘I’ve been marked by Death’ thing had been explained properly. I also would have liked to have learned more about the concept of the ‘demon roads’ criss-crossing America.

Blurb for ‘Desolation’ from GoodReads.com:

eeling from their bloody encounter in New York City, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell – five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master.

Amber and Milo’s only hope lies within Desolation Hill – a small town with a big secret; a town with a darkness to it, where evil seeps through the very floorboards. Until, on one night every year, it spills over onto the streets and all hell breaks loose.

And that night is coming…

Review:

As I enjoyed the ‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ series a lot, I decided to give this series one more chance, and read the sequel. Yeah…I’m kinda regretting that now, to be honest. Where DR was gory but funny, this is just gory- (SPOILER) Glen is gone, sayonara, the road trip around America has stalled in favour of a weird little town in Alaska (with the charming name of Desolation) and the gore is so bloody and visceral- from start to finish- that I actually couldn’t finish this book. I nearly made it to the end…and just gave up. It was just too much. The only thing that really did keep me reading it for so long were the characters of elderly, washed-up vintage TV-horror actors Virgil and his ‘frenemy’ Javier. Those elderly old mavericks were so hilarious they almost had me laughing out loud. I wanted the whole novel to be about them, but sadly it wasn’t, and instead I got demons eating demons, humans eating demons,  beheadings, infanticide, people chained up and dragged behind motorbikes, hangings, homophobia and homophobic insults (although I should point out, the author does NOT condone this, and I liked Amber’s exploration of her sexuality, I still found the insults hard to read) and much, much more. I found Skulduggery Pleasant a much more original, refreshing read- this was just steeped in too much stomach churning violence. I appreciate that Landy has a signature style, but I just can’t recommend these books if you don’t have a high tolerance for gore and a strong stomach.

Overall rating for both books: 2.5 out of 10

Read if you enjoyed: Films by Wes Craven

These Books in Four Words: Gory. Intense. Road. Trip

Image from dominodean on Tumblr

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