Review – Demon Road – Derek Landy

Demon Road

Hello Internet. Welcome back for Review #27. And yet another book by the author who’s managed to capture my current reading list, this week I bring you a book by the author of Skulduggery Pleasant. Which, if he’s taught me anything, it’s to look for the similarities in an author’s works, and enjoy the differences.

I don’t really like reviewing two books by the same author. Or in this case, two series, as both this and Skulduggery Pleasant are parts of a series (this book’s sequel still in the making as of time of writing). A lot of this is because most authors stick to one universe, and develop that out enough to flesh out characters and endings and scenarios. Then, maybe even a different series set in the same universe, like Rick Riordan did. Twice. Approaching three times. That’s four series. Hmm.

But Demon Road showed me, truly, what an adaptive author Landy is. If I didn’t know better, I would have assumed this was by another author (but with his name as large as the title, it was hard to miss). Horror seems to be something Landy just slips into like a new suit, and though I wouldn’t honestly describe Demon Road as pure horror, it does have very thematic similarities to the genre. Demon Road is good. Better. And it showcases that even some new works can still have the same author’s kick which made their first series great.

Demon Road begins with a very backward opening statement unexplained until about three chapters in. And that is how the main character was having a good day up to the point her parents tried to kill her. This is a shameful narrative technique, I might add. If you are going to have a shocking opener, at least explain what the shock is in the next paragraph. Reading the book, I can’t really hold it against Landy, but I’ll be damned if I don’t let it annoy me. Come now, I thought we trusted you enough to read the thing Derek. Don’t do this to us.

The perspective doesn’t change from the same intimate-third-person style, and the character is still a teenage girl who discovers magical powers, but that’s where the similarities end. Demon Road is (surprisingly, for a Landy book) lower-key on the quips, less quotable with the dialogue and metaphors and more focused on kick-ass storytelling. And this is a perfect change of style to match. Despite Landy’s signature traits among headbangingly obnoxious literal metaphors which get me every time (damn it, I’m a sucker for horrible funny metaphors), the subtlety of his new “groove” is not lost.

One could pick up Demon Road without reading Pleasant and still feel comfortable with the story and the characters. However, one who has read Pleasant will instantly grasp the several very unique writing traits Landy has carried over and probably will always keep, and I assume one of the most common phrases that his editor says is “Derek, your Pleasant is showing.” This isn’t a bad thing, but. In fact, for a Landy junkie needing their next fix, this is perfectly what they need. It’s just that this story shouldn’t hide in the light of Pleasant. And I believe it is just the right amount of different to keep both new readers and old fans happy.

Demon Road was published in 2015 by HarperCollins. It can be found on Amazon here.

Yours: J.M. Pear

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Review – Demon Road – Derek Landy