Monday, January 9, 2012
Author: Jon Skovron
Publisher: Amulet Books (August 1, 2011)
It can be hard to make friends when you're constantly moving. It's even harder when you're a half-demon with an ex-monk for a father. Jael Thompson has known her mother was a demon since she was 8, and now that she's turned 16, she's finally getting more information from her taciturn father. Of course, with knowledge comes danger - and a giant fish-monster uncle. Of course.
This book was quite fun to read, mostly. It was really well paced and pretty funny at times. I liked Jael a lot - she was easy to relate to and I loved the believable way she dealt with her issues. Her love interest, Rob - oh man, he is so great! I love that he is smart and spiritual (ish) all in his own way - there are just not enough guys like that in books. And he isn't dark and mysterious or brooding - such a relief! The rest of the cast is good, although her friend Britt is kind of a weak spot for me. Even though Jael's dad had a lot of issues and was hardly winning any Parent-of-the-Year awards, the flashbacks help you understand why he acts the way he does. And while I don't want to spoil too much, let me say that my love for her Uncle Dagon far surpassed the love for any previous fish-monster bakers I've loved.
This was a very conflicted read for me, though, which had me waffling between a 6 and a 7 rating for quite a while. The plot was definitely fun and enjoyable. Since I am not a religious person at all, I was not offended by the book's central concept, which was that the church has the completely wrong idea about hell and demons entirely, but I do have a feeling that it would be a bit more of a concern for some people I know. Then again, I live in a fairly religious area, so I could just be more sensitive to it. Also, I was raised Catholic and while most of the super-religious people I know in my current area are more of the Baptist persuasion, I think Catholics would be a bit put off as well. Makes it a little tricky to recommend.
Also, there are a couple scenes near the end that were... well, kind of brutal and violent in a way that I was not expecting or prepared for. Obviously we are dealing with demons, here, and Jael's mother was definitely shown to be not the norm. I never expected a Duke of Hell to be a nice person, but... *shiver* I had a hard time reading for a little while there. I was out at the public desk and the wincing faces were probably putting off patrons.
So. I finally landed on a 7 rating, because I did enjoy the plot and characters and pace. But there is a slight addendum to my recommendation - not for the religiously delicate, or faint of heart.