e-momagazine.com | 29 April 2010 | ???
You know that feeling when everyone in your class has been invited to the hottest party in town, and your invitation somehow got “lost in the post”? That's how we felt when reading Death's Shadow, book seven of horror master Darren Shan's Demonata series.OK, a big part of this is our fault; having not read the other six books we were at a disadvantage from the get go, and with just 238 pages to tell a story Shan certainly didn't have time to waste with exposition. But we spent our whole time playing catch-up, trying to understand who the heck everyone was, and what the deal was with the Disciples and Demonata.It certainly spoilt the flow of the story, which in fairness wouldn't be an issue if you've read any of the other books. In fact, we're sure if you were a fan of the series you would be squealing with delight at the turn of every page, as its packed with surprises galore and peril around every corner. The stakes, it seems, have never been higher as Beranabus, Bec and the Disciples take on the Shadow – a nightmarish creature hell-bent on destroying humanity. Bugger.The story begins with the return of Bec - a priestess from the fifth century, whose soul was trapped in a cave for over a millennia, before she hitched a ride in Bill-E's dead body and became one third of the Kah-Gash; a supernatural force that can destroy universes (lummy, its confusing already).Now living with Dervish, Bill-E's uncle, Bec quickly learns that being human again isn't all that its cracked up to be as the scourge of her life, Lord Loss, is determined to kill her and claim her third of the Kah-Gash. It seems Lord Loss's master, the Shadow, wants the Kah-Gash for itself, so it can destroy our universe and allow the demon realm to rule supreme.The odds are stacked firmly against the Disciples as they're picked off one by one, and the surprise return of one of their nemesises (nemesi? Nemesiseseseseseses? Someone they hate) spells disaster.Death's Shadow takes its sweet old time to get going, with the first 100 pages mostly dedicated to the relationship between Bec, Dervish and Beranabus, but once the action kicks off you won't be able to turn the pages fast enough for this gruesome and often shocking tale.Our only real criticism of the book is that it doesn't work as a standalone story; it's like the Matrix Reloaded – enjoyable enough but spends its whole time setting up the action for the next in the series, and has no real resolution of its own.If you're a fan of the Demonata series, then you will certainly enjoy this slice of demonic action. Its jammed full of surprises, its got plenty of gory action and Bec's back! Yay! But if you're new to the series, then we highly recommend you start from the beginning... 3/5
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