Hot damn, Darren Shan has such a complex imagination, it's hard to think of many that can compete. It's strange going from a completely different point of view in book one to a new one in book two, but I see this as a prequel, kind of, and backstory. Think I can swing it with the series as long as it doesn't get too confusing.
I enjoyed the main character Kernel. His loneliness spoke to me in the beginning and his painful plight in the ending convinced me. It's a dark story with his parents and sibling, but this of course grows much darker when he has to enter the demon realm.
What was fascinating about this book was the full-fledged magic. Each had their own brand and seeing it being explored always excited the kid in me. The story held a few twists and surprises along the way, especially with the decision of a disciple, a revelation of a theif (although I guessed that right before it was revealed), and how life changes as it goes on without someone.
Meeting the Disciples and seeing how mixed they were was a treat. It took me a moment to recognize who Dervish was since it has been a little while since I read the first book. There are a lot of questions still waiting to be answered but this pulls out for the tension and suspense of the series. Nothing feels like let down or suspended/cut off from that.
Lord Loss was as eerie as ever and it was nifty to go back in time, in his land, to see his horrors face to face in a castle of all things. There's a lot of twists in the demon world, monstrosities too horrible to clearly picture. I do keep picturing that twinkle in Art's eye at the end. I can't fully picture the disasterous appearance that is Lord Loss yet.
Shan did well with this book and that world, although not perfect in terms of imaginations and intricacies. More could be done in future installments to leave a greater impression on the twisted multiverse.
As I've mentioned in reviews of most of Darren Shan's books, this may be set for middle school to young adult, but the subject matter, violence, and blood/gore level is intense enough for an adult. There's some disturbing material here that works perfectly for all horror fans of all ages. If you're a sensitive adult about what your child reads, you may want to preview some of this stuff, although I'm fine with my son reading it. Then again I was never sensitive about reading material and believed in allowing the imagination to stretch and experience for itself. Adults should not grow bored - look at me, I read these and love them, he's a favorite author for sure.
I'm pleased to see I've fallen more into the series. The first book was good but didn't grab me. Cirque Du Freak was such an epic cant-put-down feeling that I hope to get the same with the Demonata.
“I've lived and seen enough to know how difficult it is to settle for a small life when you're destined for greatness.”