associatedcontent.com | 29 August 2008 | Audrey Star Josefek
"The Demonata exist in a multi-world universe of their own. Evil, Murderous creatures, who revel in torment and slaughter. They try to cross over into our world all the time..."The tales in this series center around a primary figure, a chess-loving demon master by the name of Lord Loss. Though each book is about an individual character, and each one is a different story plot--the insufferable Lord Loss is somehow entwined into each story.Book #4 in this series is no different.By the time I've reached this book, I have come to (perhaps very twistedly) admire the way Darren Shan spins each story, and most of all the character of the vile Demon Lord. He is cold, calculated, and extremely smart. While other demons just wreak havoc and destruction, killing without contemplation, trying to make humanity a bloody, gory mess as soon as possible--Lord Loss draws his "pleasure" and power from the agony of it all, from the suffering and sadness. Yet his wits and brain make him an amazing character in all of this.The Demonata books are interesting because they spread over different time periods, and different places, though they are not often completely specific as to where/what time period they are taking place in.Such as in Bec, Mr. Shan's fourth installment.It starts off with the tale of a young girl, an aspiring priestess, remembering her own birth. She has an amazing memory. She doesn't seem to be a very learned priestess apprentice, though, also brought on by her teacher dying. She is mediocre, at best.She speaks of many things that make one realize this story takes place in early Ireland, if you'd place it, at a time of druids and priestesses, even speaking of the "new" one-god religion sweeping through the land; Christianity. Though the book never actually uses the word "Ireland", many of the words are old Irish (some wouldn't show up in our normal computer dictionary!), and clan names mostly begin with "Mac." There is even a glossary in the back of the book of celtic terms and phrases used in Bec.Demons are tearing through the land, which ultimately means someone, somewhere has opened a rift between the worlds. If it grows, if the demon masters start coming through--all of humanity is doomed. We could not fight their magic and evil.Bec meets up early on with an addled young boy with an amazing gift of speed, despite his absent-mindedness & slow brain. He seems to come from a tuath, or county, unknown, that needs help. So Bec and a group of would-be warriors from their fort set out to help the needy. Along the way, they meet up with Drust, who is a powerful druid. Drust insists they come with him to help stop the Demonata, and close the doorway, but just as adamantly insists he could care less if they live or die, or come with; he will find others if they do not.As the journey continues, they meet up with strange, and often terrifying situations, as well as coming face to face with the demon master--Lord Loss, who in this book, catches his first glimpse of the game chess, which intrigues him.Bec learns something of here terrible heritage, and an encounter with the demon master gives her unspeakable power. But can she control it? And can she carry out her duty to help close the rift between our world and that of the Demonata?This book moves quickly, has very likable characters, and a surprise ending even I didn't expect. Darren Shan is a master at weaving horror tales with interesting plots and amazing characters. I really enjoy this series, because they're not always connected, though sometimes the characters connect in later books, and they have the ability to send shivers up my spine and that sickening feeling into my stomach, without being gore-fests or written in a helter-skelter way.
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