Saturday, 5 December 2015

Book Review: Demon Road - my troubles with tone

Title: Demon Road (Demon Road #1)
Author: Derek Landy
Genre: Paranormal
Warnings: Violence and gore, elements of horror
Rating: 3 stars
Goodreads | Book Depository
An ebook copy of this book was provided to me via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Amber leads a dull and uninteresting life... until she grows horns, turns red, and bites a guy's finger off. From that point onwards, her life spirals out of control. Forced to go on the run from her demon parents who want to eat her, Amber goes on a wild road trip in order to find a way to stop them from their ritualistic child eating.

With a premise like that, who wouldn't want to read more?

Unfortunately, the answer is me.

The opening pages were engaging, but afterwards the madness was a bit too much. There was not much new information to absorb other than what the blurb had alreads provided, but what was given felt as though it were thrown in my face. Once Amber realised what her parents were after everything became too rushed without much development, from the explanation to her denial of what was happening.

Typically, the introduction of new characters are meant to pick up the pace, but this did not happen with Milo. His mysterious background was not intriguing and if he weren't there to begin with, Amber could have done much of the travelling on her own. Amber and Milo's dynamic started off weakly because they simply had nothing to say to each other. They did not feel like distinct and individual characters until Glen was brought into the story and from then onwards the plot moved at a more rapid pace.

The tone of the book was the most difficult aspect to adjust to. For the majority of the first half, the book read more in the way that I would think rather than how I would write, which could have been why I couldn't get into it. In short: it felt childish. The only thing that distinguished it from a Middle Grade book was when the dry humour was replaced with graphically violent scenes. By the second half, I was much more enthused by where the story was going and actually wanted to read on.

Demon Road is in no way a bad book. Often dry humour and violence can go hand in hand, but in this instance I found that they did not blend as well as they ought to have done. Nevertheless, Landy's set up was strong enough to introduce the series as well as create a standalone book that was, at times, rather enjoyable.
Do you have any examples of when you've been hooked by the premise of a story but not the execution?
Find this review on Goodreads.

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