bellaonline.com | 28 April 2010 | Justin Daniel Davis
On first appearance, Grubitsch “Grubbs” Grady seems like your typical teenager; he rebels against his parents, fights with his sister, and succumbs to peer pressure. But things are a little odd within the Grady household these days; his family is acting strange and keeping secrets from him. To top it off, everyone appears to be on edge; no one can take a joke anymore! On a fateful night, his parents send him to Aunt “No-Date-Kate” so that they may attend a ballet performance with his sister. Not to be undone, Grubbs sneaks out of his aunt’s house and heads for home, hoping to unravel the mysterious behavior exhibited by his loved ones. His trip home proves to take him much further, beyond the realms of sanity and into the fiery depths of Demonata.Lucky for Grubbs, a bizarre yet kindly uncle proves to play a supportive role in helping Grubbs piece his life back together after a horrific encounter with evil. His uncle gives him space, listens to him, and answers many of his questions. As the full moon draws closer, however, Uncle Dervish begins to act strangely. He recovers the mutilated remains of small animals on his property, and quietly disposes of the corpses. He spends longer periods of time away from home at night, and grows increasingly mysterious to his young nephew. As Grubbs delves further into his uncle’s countless volumes of werewolf and demon literature, he’s about to come face to face with a terrifying family secret.The first of the Demonata series, Lord Loss, published by Time Warner in October of 2005, is a no-holds-barred journey into hell. Darren Shan, Irish-born author of the critically acclaimed Cirque du Freak series, pulls out all of the stops in this horror fantasy geared towards teenagers. Packed with disturbing images and intriguing characters, The Demonata: Lord Loss doesn’t let up in its merciless pace.I always enjoy when authors who write for younger crowds treat their audiences as if they were on equal ground. All too often, horror writers who write for teens have a tendency to speak down to them, sugarcoating the horror of the story in a watered-down version of the tale. I am pleased to say that Shan is not one of these authors; his work is brimming with intelligence and dark humor.In October of this year, Shan is expected to release book seven of the ten-part Demonata series, which will also be reviewed here. If you haven’t gotten on the Shan blood wagon, then you’d better jump on.Next stop, hell.
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