Demon Road by Derek Landy, a review (The Demon Road Trilogy, #1)

Demon Road by Derek Landy is the first in an urban fantasy trilogy set in the USA. After reading and adoring the Skulduggery Pleasant series for so many years I just had to try out his alternative series.

Demon Road by Derek Landy

We follow a 16 year old called Amber, who discovers that her parents are demons who want to eat her, because it will increase their power. And all her parents friends are in on it too, bar one. That one helps Amber to escape and she goes on the run on essentially the supernatural version of Route 66, meeting some violent and magical people along the way.

Amber, unfortunately, did feel like a knock-off Valkyrie (the main character in the Skulduggery series). She was interesting, but just felt a little 2D and lacking in dynamics. Our secondary characters, however, were pretty fleshed out and I enjoyed learning more about them! (Other than the token Irish character, who really needs some more fleshing out. Although it seems like he might get that in the next book, but right now? Glen ain’t my fave). The characters have a similar banter style that we’ve become used to in the SP series, not the same thankfully, but just as banter heavy and slightly ridiculous which makes it fun.

The instigating plotline in this one is… quite ridiculous. It almost makes Skulduggery look normal. But the actual story arc is done well and I enjoyed the road trip aspect, traveling around the US and stumbling across various deadly supernatural entities. The book leaves off with the prospect of this continuing in the the rest of the series so that could be fun. I also really enjoyed our anti-heroine-demon MC, definitely something a little different. She’s not portrayed as pure or as completely breaking away from her demon nature. If anything Landy leans into it and makes her a little worse. But that’s just what makes her seem more like a real person.

Unfortunately there did seem to be a fair amount of fatphobia towards the main character in this book, it seems to be lightly fought back against by Landy but not enough in my opinion. And Ambers overall appearance is heavily focused on (seriously Glen, you’re such a prick about this) with insults continuously flung about calling her ugly in her human form. There’s honestly no need for that and I hope it’s toned down a lot for the next books.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 7, Atmosphere: 6, Writing: 6, Plot: 7, Intrigue: 6, Logic: 7 and Enjoyment: 7 which gives an average of 6.57 and a 3.5* rating. I’m debating whether I’ll round this up or down on Goodreads.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: murder, death, blood, cannibalism, gore, violence, trafficking, child death, gun violence, kidnapping, stalking, fatphobia, emotional abuse.

Overall, this isn’t as good as the Skulduggery series. And whilst it feels rude to compare them it also is inevitable. However, separate from that series it’s still a decent book (separate from the fatphobia and Glen – but Glen might just be me) and I’d still recommend for people who think it sounds interesting to give it a shot. You should just also try out the Skulduggery series!

Have you read anything from Landy? Did I mention Skulduggery Pleasant too much? Let me know! 🀣

August Reading Wrap Up

In August I had two readathons: the Mary Shelley AThon and the MiddleEarthAThon. Both were amazing and both inspired me to pick up books I wouldn’t have (at least this month) otherwise. It also meant that I read more than I would’ve so no complaints here!!

If you’d like to see how well I balanced my books out this month, then check out the video here!

The first book I finished in August was Fire by Kristin Cashore which is the second book in the Graceling series. This is an older YA series that has gotten a bit of a revival lately and it’s so much fun! Fire is our main character and I loved seeing her development throughout the book, as well as how the court changed around her. So excited to dive into Bitterblue next! This was my tbr jar pick and I’m glad this was forced into my hands!

Next up was Mathilda by Mary Shelley which I picked up for the Mary Shelley A Thon prompt of something written by Shelley. This is a super short read, around 100 pages, and a really interesting one. It’s essentially an unedited short story about a young woman who just wants a family and considering it’s unedited… wow is it written well. I just wish Shelley had been able to edit this one up into a fully fledged work!

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi was my next read, the Goldsboro GSFF book for last month, and WOW did I adore this book. Five stars, one of my favourites ever. This book is just amazing. I need the sequel like yesterday. This high fantasy is incredibly detailed, beautifully well developed, and I adored seeing the characters learn more about the world and each other. I love this book so much that I struggle to talk about it. That’s when you know I loved a read!

Then another great read was The River and the Book by Alison Croggon, my first reads from this author since The Pellinor Series (you know, that one that’s in my handle). This is not an own-voices book, but that is literally the only downside. It’s a beautifully written book that tackles white saviourism and it’s a real short read too. One I’d definitely recommend picking up!

Then I read the behemoth that is The Collected Poems of Robert Burns which clocks in at 600 pages. This was for a Mary Shelley A Thon prompt to read a poem/collection of poetry and this was the best choice because it was gifted to me by the readathon host Caitlyn! (from Mad Cheshire Rabbit) This is definitely not one I’d recommend generally to everyone, because there are some duds in this collection, but there are also some fantastic works and I think you should look Burns up and read a few.

The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones was the Illumicrate read for August and it was… fine? There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with this YA fantasy, but it also wasn’t a standout. Not one I’ll recommend or remember, but it’s fine. Read my full review linked above for more details.

Then I finished my non-fiction for the month, Timefulness by Marcia Bjornerud. This one was fantastic, having super interesting and unique discussions on geology, the physical makeup of our planet, and how we can learn to think more about timeframes past our existence. But. There’s ableism right at the end and I just can’t recommend a book after that. Check out my full review of this one coming in a few days (or available on my blog now if you’re reading this in mid September 22 onwards).

For my first MiddleEarthAThon read, a shiny book, I went for Demon Road by Derek Landy which is the first book in a YA Urban Fantasy trilogy. This is the same author of the Skulduggery Pleasant series and unfortunately it doesn’t quite live up to that high bar. It was enjoyable enough though and I’m curious, so I’ll be carrying on with the series.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr works for both readathons. For MiddleEarthAThon it’s (one of) the oldest book on my tbr, and for Mary Shelley A Thon it counts for both a book outside of your comfort zone and a tbr vet. This. This book was fantastic, amazing, and a 5* read! I had the smallest of issues with how travel was portrayed but other than that – perfection! Another favourite of the year.

And my final read was most of The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This entire collection was 1122 pages so I didn’t manage to read it all before the month was up, but I did manage it in the one week of the MiddleEarthAThon, and in August I read a fair few of the short stories. I’ll mention this one more in my September wrap up but this was a 4* read and just as fun as I remember Sherlock stories being.

And that’s everything I managed to read last month! It totalled 3944 pages, and so much of that was during the MiddleEarthAThon!!

Did you get any five star reads last month? The Final Strife and All The Light We Cannot See are both amazing and I’m so glad that I picked them up!!

My MiddleEarthAThon TBR!

The wonderful Lizzie from Lizzieiself is hosting the MiddleEarthAThon from the 26th August until the 2nd September to celebrate the new Lord of the Rings TV show releasing! She asked me to cohost and I’ve been placed as the team leader for the Dwarves πŸ˜Šβš’

Our others hosts are: The Bookworms Feast for Team Hobbit (who also has a book blog), Imena Ginac for Team Elf, Stuff Celine Does for Team Men, and LadetteM for Team Witch King!

Come and check out the MiddleEarthAThon twitter and instagram too for updates and mini sprints!

I published a recommendations video for the Dwarf prompts a while ago, as well as a video and a blog post for my overall August tbr. But I’ve also done a standalone video for my MiddleEarthAThon tbr so I thought I should do a blog post too!

First up is the prompt: “That still only counts as one” – reading an anthology or a collection of short stories. For this one I’m going with The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle… I know it’s huge but it’s literally the only one I have! This is over 1100 pages and I’m going to be trying to read it, and two 500+ page books, in just a week. Why do I do this to myself?

The second prompt is: “Thranduil” – a book with a shiny cover. Demon Road by Derek Landy is my choice for this one. A YA urban fantasy based in the US by the same author who wrote the Skulduggery Pleasant series. I’ve heard some… not so positive reviews of this one? But I want to try it for myself regardless and I’m hoping that this’ll be a quick read like the Skulduggery books are for me.

The final dwarfish prompt is: “Durin’s sons” – the book that has been on your tbr the longest. For me this is pretty hard to judge, so I just went with one I know is pretty old (since 2016) and that’s All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, a historical fiction based in WWII. I’ve not been having much luck with historical fictions lately, but it’s been a while since I’ve read one based during WWII (which used to be my favourite period) so I’m holding out hope.

Now whilst that’s all the prompts, the Dwarves do also get one special power and that is to swap out any book for a shorter one if needed. And oh boy do I intend to use this if I need it!

For the anthology prompt I have two different options. One is to just read one of the bindups that lives within the Sherlock book itself. The full book of The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. This is a lot more manageable so I’m going to start the readalong with this and then see if I can manage more. Another possibility was given to me by the wonderful Hannah from Ladette M, who reminded me my Waypoint Books order would be coming through soon with my copy of Armageddon Outta Here by Derek Landy the revised edition. This is a collection of Skulduggery short stories and would be a much easier read πŸ˜‚

For the shiny book prompt I’ve given myself the backup book of The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa which is a translated Japanese cat book. I whip through these super quick (I actually force myself to spread them over a few days) and so if Demon Road doesn’t work out I can squeeze this in at the end.

And for the oldest on my tbr prompt, I realised that I actually have a book I know has been on my tbr longer! And that’s The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown. This is a historical fiction which only clocks 300 pages rather than the 600 for All The Light and could save my guts by the end of the month πŸ˜…

I will say I’m slightly worried that I might end up trying to read all of these books… in a week… so someone needs to stop me from doing that please and thank you.

Are you taking part in the MiddleEarthAThon? If you’ve not signed up yet I’ve linked the Spreadsheet, Google Form to submit the books you’ve read for your team, and the form to tell us the team you’ve picked so you can sign up and have some fun with us! Having read/watched Lord of the Rings not required (I only just read the first LotR book last month and I’ve still not watched them!)

If you are taking part tell me which team you’re joining and make sure to follow all of the other lovely hosts!!

2 Readathons, 2 Book Boxes – My August ’22 TBR!

It’s tbr time again! This month I’m going to be taking part in two readathons, as well as wanting to read my book box choices and starting up the tbr jar again! Let’s start with the books that aren’t for any prompts.

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi is the Goldsboro GSFF book. This is apparently the first book in a trilogy, a high fantasy with Lesbian rep and the praises of Samantha Shannon. Simply just being the Goldsboro book would’ve been enough for me to be excited but with all those other points? So excited to dive in!

The Illumicrate book for this month is The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones which is a Welsh based mythologically inspired read with faries and fae. I’m usually not a big fan of fae, but I actually really enjoy them when in a Celtic and native British setting so I’m hopeful for this one. It’s only 350 pages so I may as well give it a shot!

Then, my tbr jar book. Yup, I brought it back! And this time I pulled out Fire by Kristin Cashore, the second book in the Graceling series. I’m really excited to continue on with these books because Graceling was such a fun read. I’ve been told that this isn’t a direct sequel, but is within the same world, so I’m really curious!

Now onto the two readathons I’m taking part in this month! The first I’ll mention is one that’s covering the whole of August, and that is the Mary-Shelley-A-Thon hosted by Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit. This is in celebration of Shelley’s birthday on the 31st of August, and so of course the prompts were all inspired by her! The second is taking place from the 28th August until the 2nd September, and this is the MiddleEarthAThon, this one celebrating the new Lord of the Rings series coming out on the 2nd. Neither of these require you to have read things in their respective areas before you join them, so please do consider joining us!

Mathilda by Mary Shelley is a short story, according to Goodreads it’s 79 pages. I picked this one for the prompt of reading something by Shelley, as I don’t own anything unread by her and thought that I may as well go for something short if I’m adding another book!

Then for the prompt of reading a poem or poetry collection, I’m using The Complete Poems of Robert Burns. I’m hoping I can read the whole thing this month. But if not as long as I read one it technically counts for the prompt so I’m all good!

This next book hits two Mary-Shelley-A-Thon prompts and one MiddleEarthAThon prompt. The book is All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, a historical fiction set in WWII France following a blind girl trying to survive Nazi occupation. For Shelley the prompts are a book outside of your comfort zone and a tbr veteran. I’ve had this book since 2016 and I really don’t get on as much with historical fiction anymore. For MiddleEarth it’s the oldest book on my tbr.

Then Demon Road by Derek Landy is my pick for the shiny book, the whole cover is so bright! This is by the same author as Skulduggery Pleasant and I’m nervous, because I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I’m excited to dive in myself.

The last book I’ve put on my tbr is the biggest, at 1100+ pages, and that’s The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is for the short story collection prompt, and because this one is so big (and I only have a week to read both it and the other two books – which are both 500+ pages) I’ll count the prompt as complete as long as I read a minimum of 5 stories. But I’m going to try and read them all!

And that’s my tbr! Definitely a challenging one, specifically at the end of the month, but I’m excited to dive into all of these and enjoy some new worlds and stories! What’s one book on your tbr for this month?