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THRUSHMETAL - reviewed by ???

Although Bec is the fourth book in the Demonata series, chronologically, it takes place before the first three. Those of you whose first thought is, “hey, isn’t that like the Narnia series?” not so fast – the fact the books take place out of chronological order is where the similarities between Narnia and Demonata end. If anything, The Demonata is the antithesis to C.S. Lewis’ Christianity-infused works. Now don’t get all freaked out – Shan’s books are no more likely to influence ANYONE to worship the devil than Superman makes people think they have powers of flight. It’s fiction, people…not to mention, the demons are the bad guys…

Taking place in 5th century Ireland, around the same time St. Patrick is spreading Christianity through the area, Bec’s tuath is in the midst of repelling frequent demon attacks. Each person in the tuath does their part in battle, and Bec’s specialty is the use of Old Magic, a skill she had only begun to learn before her caretaker, Banba, passed away. During one of the few calm moments between battles, a young boy approaches the clan muttering the same words over and over: “run fast.” The king organizes a party of warriors and includes Bec, to find out where the boy is from. On the journey, they cross paths with a druid, a master of the oldest magic, who informs them that their discovering him is the key to defeating the demon hordes. These monsters grow ever stronger as the tunnel between earth and hell increases in size, making it easier for demon masters and the most powerful the demon classes, the Demonata, to pass. Once on earth, the humans will be no match for the Demonata and the world as it is known will cease to be.

This one is sure to grab horror lovers — who should have a stomach for a fair amount of grisly prose — and not give them up until the quest is finished. For those who have read any of the previous books, there will be “easter eggs” to find, connecting Bec to the others. I will admit that this is the first Demonata book I’ve read and can guarantee that it is able to stand on its own. Now that I’ve finished Lord Loss and Demon Thief (books one & two) and am now reading Slawter (totally enjoying my vacation so far!) I’m seeing the many strengths of how the series is constructed, and its ability to be read in a variety of ways. I may commit literary heresy here (fitting, since this is a series about demons…) and say that I’m enjoying The Demonata more than I did Cirque Du Freak. I’m not taking anything away from Cirque… seeing as how it’s a killer set of books. It’s just that to me, Demonata are original additions to the canon of teen horror fiction (that adults who read horror will probably enjoy too), which puts it right over the top! Maith thú Mr. Shan!




© Darren Shan 2005. All rights reserved.