Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.
But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?
In Jana Oliver’s debut into the YA genre, The Demon Trapper’s Daughter introduces a world in trouble. Cities are being over run with demons and the local Trapper’s Guilds have their hands full especially now that the demons appear to be working together something here to for has never happened. Oliver combines both the paranormal with a setting that is part dystopian and introduces us to the hierarchy of both the Trapper Guild and demons. It is within this world that we meet 17 year-old Riley, who finds herself fighting to be accepted by the male dominated Guild. Thankfully, master Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, Riley’s father, is teaching her the ropes until a demon trapping goes horribly awry, and he is killed. Now Riley is alone and fighting not only demons, but the guild members too.
Riley is an outstanding character and one I immediately embraced. A typical teenager she is trying hard to finish school so she can follow in her dad’s footsteps as a demon trapper. She is strongly focused on her goals, but still has insecurities that only make her more endearing. She would like nothing more than to spend time with her father, but with the city being over run by demons, a stack of bills left by her mother’s hospitalization and death, Riley often has to take a back seat to her father’s job, and does so without turning into a whiny complaining teen. She is also trying to get over a crush she had on Beck, her father’s demon trapping partner. Part of her still likes Beck and the other part sees him as a jerk. I thoroughly enjoyed the back and forth love hate relationship. With a life that is less than ideal, Riley takes things in stride and never really loses sight of what is important. Even after her father is killed and her already fragile world is shattering around her, she still manages to work through her pain and continues to be brave.
I also really enjoyed Oliver’s secondary characters many of who are potential love interests. Beck was a tough guy who loved and respected Riley’s father. Beck has a hard time coming to terms with his feeling for Riley. He feels a certain amount of protectiveness because of his relationship with Riley’s father, but he also is seeing Riley as the young woman she is close to becoming. I liked Beck’s smart ass attitude and how Oliver allowed us to see past his bravado and into his emotional caring side. I also like Simon, a demon trapper apprentice, who definitely has feelings for Riley and goes out of his way to help her especially with his mentor, Harper, who takes over Riley’s training after her father dies. Harper is the most senior trapper in Atlanta, and is less than happy to have a female demon trapper in their guild and does not fail to make that very clear every chance he gets. Finally, there is Peter, Rilely’s school-mate and long time BFF, who is often her sounding board when she has no one else to turn to. Peter definitely wants to be more than the BFF.
The Demon Trapper’s Daughter plot is complex and deals with several mysteries. I loved how Oliver carefully built the world of the trappers and demons, and I am quite anxious to find answers to several questions brought up in the book. There is quite a lot of action, and the climax is incredible. While the ending isn’t a total cliff hanger, it does leave the reader with a strong desire to read more. I have high expectations for the next book in this series, and based on Oliver’s writing thus far, I doubt I will be disappointed.
Source: Received ARC copy from publisher
Source: Received ARC copy from publisher