Thursday, August 16, 2012

Forgiven by Jana Oliver

Published: March 2012
Publisher: St Martins Griffin
Pages: 354
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

The days are growing darker for 17-year-old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne. With her father’s reanimated body back safely, Beck barely speaking to her because of a certain hunky Fallen angel, and a freshly-made deal with Lucifer, she has enough on her hands to last a normal teenage lifetime. Though she bargained with Heaven to save his life, her ex-boyfriend Simon has told the Vatican’s Demon Hunters that she’s working with Hell. So now she’s in hiding, at the top of everyone’s most-wanted list.

But it’s becoming clear that this is bigger than Riley, and rapidly getting out of control: something sinister is happening in Atlanta… or someone. The demons are working together for the first time ever and refusing to die, putting civilians in harm’s way. Riley thinks she might know who’s behind it all, but who’s going to believe her? Caught between her bargain with Heaven and her promise to Lucifer, Riley fears the final war is coming – and it may be closer than anyone thinks…

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Demon Trappers series.  Each volume has been exciting and engrossing, and Forgiven brought everything together nicely and to a satisfying conclusion .... or not.*

Riley's growth as a character increased with each volume.  It's nice to see a character learn from her experiences and use what she learns.  She doesn't wallow in self pity, or leave solutions to others.  It was also nice to see her deal with paying bills and going to school (afternoons only in an old Starbucks!) - mundane tasks that keep her grounded in reality, and boy, does she need to be grounded!

"Oh, and I got to talk to the Prince himself.  He's one spooky guy, that's for sure."
Her friend's brain reengaged. "You got hot and heavy with a Fallen angel, then you chatted up the Prince of Hell?"
"Yeah. I owe Lucifer a favor, so he doesn't let Ori kill everyone I love." Like you. (p43)

And you gotta love a book that channels Buffy!

"Why does this feel like a bad episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?" Riley smiled through her tears. "What would Buffy do now?" Peter thought for a moment. "She'd kick some ass and look smoking hot doing it." (p45)

There are lots of secondary characters, both good and bad, and all very individual.  I could just see Mort shrugging and blushing and Beck lining up his beer bottles.  Beck was one of my favourite characters - without giving too much of a spoiler, his affection for a certain small furry animal really showed his soft side, which I loved.  Ms Oliver did a stellar job of showing the differences between Demon Hunters and Demon Trappers, yet through it all she kept everyone 'human'.  That is of course unless they were demons and there are a lot of very nasty ones to keep everyone on their toes.

The series is about the perennial battle between Good and Evil and the vulnerabilities of those of us caught in the middle.  It's an exciting, sad, spine-tingling, emotional roller coaster ride with Fallen angels, demons, necromancers and witches to sweeten the deal.  Great reading, especially for anyone who enjoyed Sarah Rees Brennan's Demon's Lexicon trilogy

*On a side note, I had thought that this would be a trilogy, but as the ending showed clearly, there is more to come.  The 4th and final book, Foretold, is due out in the US in December this year, but I'm really hoping that since we're in Canada I'll be able to snag a UK edition which comes out this month.  Keep your fingers crossed.

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