INIS (Ireland) | 29 April 2010 | John Hartnett
This is Darren Shan's fourth book in his Demonata series, following on his hugely successful twelve-volume Saga of Darren Shan. Each of his books is eagerly awaited by his avid fans, particularly boys aged 10 and up who can't get enough of his blood and guts, horror and blood­curdling savagery. I read one of his books before and I was unimpressed — so I was pleasantly surprised reading Bec to find a story well structured, with some fine characterisation and offering some lovely illuminations of life in Ireland 1500 years ago. The setting of the book bridging pagan and Christian worlds is very well laid. Priests, druids and demons from the other world compete for dominance over a people steeped in superstition and myth. Bec, the young heroine of the book, is a trainee priestess who accompanies the druid Drust and a small band of warriors on their quest to block the source of the demons' entrance to this world. There is a clever weaving of Celtic terms and historical allusions into the story and the reader will learn much about Ireland's ancient past... while all the time the author never forgets what brings his readers back to him time and again: gory, gruesome deeds and foul, evil creatures. And the Demonata, master demons from the other world who want to enter this one, are only too willing to provide the necessary. Interesting, unexpected twists will keep the reader turning the pages right to the very end.
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