The Evening Echo (Ireland) | 28 April 2010 | Pet O'Connell
JUST when you thought it was safe to go into the bookshop, he's back! Having brought his Saga of Darren Shan to a blood-curdling end, Limerick's own prince of darkness returns to haunt us with a brand new series of books every bit as horrific and depraved as the last. After trawling the depths of despair to produce horror after horror for his saga, one might think Shan's store of gut-wrenching blood-lust might be drying up, but if anything the terror has intensified. Teenager Grubbs Grady is the central character this time and boy, is he in for some unpleasant experiences. Mind you, Grubbs, or Grubitsch, to give him his full title, is no saint himself. When his sister earns his displeasure by grassing to their parents that he has been smoking, he gets his own back by chopping up rats' entrails and concealing them in her towel while she's in the shower, so when she opens her eyes she finds blood and guts dripping down her hair. And that's only the prequel to the real horror. Grubbs's whole family meet an exceptionally nasty and graphically-described end, with enough blood to keep a vampire going for years (sorry, no vampires in this book though). And just who is Lord Loss? "A demon master. One of the many supernatural beings who exist on the edges of our reality, in magical realms of their own. We call them Demonata. Some meddle in the ways of humans, most have nothing to do with us, while a few — like Lord Loss — feed upon us." A pretty nice guy then, one that you might take home to meet your parents — that's if he hasn't already slaughtered your parents and watched their blood drip down their bedroom walls. This book is billed on its cover as "seriously scary" and that's a serious understatement. It's also recommended for readers of 11-plus, which is a bit on the young side. Yes, this type of horror holds an obvious fascination for teenagers, even young ones, as anyone who has hidden behind the sofa yet still feel compelled to watch scary movies will testify; and yes, it does encourage reluctant boys to pick up a book. But this really is grotesque, stomach-churning and quite disturbing stuff which, while written for a teenage market, is quite adult in content and leaves little to the imagination. And with Shan's next book in this Demonata series, Demon Thief already in the pipeline, there's no end to the blood-letting in sight.
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