The Demon Trapper's Daughter
by Jana Oliver
St. Martin's Griffin
17 year-old Riley Blackthorne wants nothing more than to prove herself as a demon-trapper in a post-apocolyptic demon-ridden Atlanta. There's a gritty, noir feel to the story, as Riley lives in a rat-trap apartment, struggles for money and has to cope with a sexist old boys network amongst the tightly-knit demon-hunter community. Her father dies in the line of duty and it's up to Riley to guard his grave from necromancers who want to reanimate his corpse. Riley is grappling with her grief at losing her father while trying to stay on top of her schoolwork and capture enough demons on the side to pay the rent. Talk about stress! There's a great mystery afoot as well... why has the Demon Trapper's Guild's holy water been so much less effective lately? Why have more and more demons begun appearing in Atlanta, and how do they know Riley's name?
There's a hint of a love triangle - Riley has had a long-standing unrequited crush on her father's prodigy, Beck, but has recently taken an interest in Simon, a fellow demon-hunter apprentice. The main focus of the story though, is plucky Riley's efforts to subdue some of the fast-encroaching demons on her hometown.
I loved the mythology of the demons. The Demon Trapper's Guild rather matter-of-factly divides them into 5 categories, ranging from Category 1 - annoying little imps, mostly harmless, but still definitely worth getting rid of, all the way to Category 5 - rarely-seen super dangerous geo-fiends, capable of creating earthquakes and probably standing several feet taller than the average human or larger. I found it amusing that Buckhead, the Bel Air of Atlanta, has largely been abandoned by humans when it became overrun with demons.
I felt a certain sick thrill reading this book seated at my local coffee shop, as Oliver describes the ad-hoc classroom the embattled Atlanta school system has set up in an abandoned Starbucks in Little Five Points, and I realized I was sitting in the very same space where this dystopian near-future battle scene was taking place. Freaky!
While a number of the mysteries in the book are solved by the end of the story, there are still a lot of loose ends... this is an inventive and unique series that I am eager to get back to.
I purchased this book.