Title: The Demon Trapper’s Daughter
Author: Jana Oliver
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Original edition (February 1, 2011)
A student recommended The Demon Trapper’s Daughter by Jana Oliver and, being a lover of all things young adult and paranormal, I decided to give it a try. It follows the story of Riley Blackthorne, the daughter of a demon trapper, who lives in a post-apocalyptic version of Atlanta. Demons, angels, vampires – you name it, they exist. When Riley’s father is killed (not a spoiler – more of a focal-point of the novel), it is her job to protect her father’s body so he can’t be reanimated and turned into a slave. However, she has to contend with her father’s hot partner, Beck, who treats Riley like a kid, and the demons, who all seem to know her name and are singling her out.
Oliver sets the stage from the beginning, pulling us into this rough world in which Riley lives. The demons are characters themselves, ranging in size and ferocity. While some are comical, others are downright scary, but each demon is unique, and her descriptions make it easy to fall into Riley’s world.
We are in the head of Riley and Beck, almost interchangeably, in every chapter. Their “voices” are distinct and interesting. Riley, like a typical teenager, is impulsive and makes some poor decisions. She can be infuriating at times, but I didn't dislike her. Beck is by far my favorite character. He is rough around the edges, charming and engaging, serving as a strong contrast to Riley.
The content is YA appropriate, though I wouldn't suggest allowing a teen under the age of 14 to read it. While Riley is seventeen, Beck is an adult, and Oliver doesn't hide his feelings (alcohol, sex, etc.).
I enjoyed Oliver’s novel, and the biggest compliment I can give it is this: In a world full of sequels, I’m more apt to read the first book and not finish the series. When I re-shelved The Demon Trapper’s Daughter in my classroom library, I immediately picked up the second book, Soul Thief. I did it less for Riley and more for Beck, because I find him compelling and awesome, and am pretty sure he has more to offer.
Age Recommendation: 14 – Adult
Genre: YA Paranormal