Monday, 27 June 2011

Review: Forsaken by Jana Oliver

Forsaken (The Demon Trappers #1) by Jana Oliver
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Released: February 7th 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?
(from Goodreads)

Forsaken begins with Riley Blackthorne on a solo trapping mission. It should be easy – it is only a grade one demon after all. But, unexpectedly, things go wrong, and Riley ends up at an emergency Guild meeting. It isn’t even her fault – but Demon Trapping is serious business, and mistakes can and have cost lives. After a tragic event, Riley soon realises that there is an awful lot about Demon Trapping she doesn’t know – and she has to learn it all, fast.

Forsaken was a great read. I love books to do with demons (I think they’re the most underrated supernatural creatures), so I was really happy when my copy of Forsaken arrived. The main character Riley was one of those “tough as old boots” sorts, and I really liked her – she had a thirst to prove herself, and she hated being rescued all the time (no damsel in distress complex here). She was determined to be as good as her father at trapping, and was eager to prove that a girl could be just as good a trapper as a boy (I was really happy with the girl Riley showed in this book – some of the council members were so sexist I was getting just as angry as she was!). I also liked that Riley had to hang around with boys a lot (side effect of Trappers usually being men) because it meant we got to find out what the boys thought of having a girl Trapper around, which was really interesting. I have to say, though this usually doesn’t happen to me, I wasn’t actually rooting for the guy Riley ended up with. He was nice and all, but meh. There are more books to come though – I still have hope!

Another character I really liked was Beck. There was a lot going on with him that Riley wasn’t aware of, and I think he did a good job of supporting her (despite the fact it seemed she really didn’t like him). Beck also made me laugh a lot, and I loved how he would randomly mention Taylor Swift, who appeared to be his concentration point when trapping! His relationship with Riley’s dad was quite complex,  he really looked up to Paul Blackthorne, who was like a father-figure, and much like Riley, he was trying to be the best Trapper he could. I think it really showed his determination and also helped explain why he cared so much for Riley. The only thing is I couldn’t believe he didn’t like chocolate – odd, odd person :P.

Whilst Simon wasn’t my favourite character, I did like him. It took a lot of guts to deal with all the hassle and grief Master Harper gave him, and I think he showed true care and passion for Riley. I don’t think he acted his age though; he seemed a lot younger than twenty to me. He was also quite easy to predict. I also quite liked Riley’s friend Peter, because he was so sweet and helpful, and worried about Riley a lot. However, by far the most interesting character was Ori. He only came in toward the end, but was gorgeous, funny and completely mysterious – we don’t find out anything about him or why he was doing what he was doing. The mystery made him more appealing, methinks. Good guy, bad guy, what exactly was he up to? And what did his interest in Riley mean? I can’t wait to find out more about him in the next book.

One thing I didn’t understand wasn’t to do with the actual book – I didn’t get why there was a “For Older Readers” warning on the back cover. I don’t remember any particular mature content that wouldn’t be suitable for any teen (13+).

In conclusion, Forsaken was an exciting, fast-paced read, and I look forward to reading the sequel, Forbidden. I would recommend this series to those who liked The Demon’s Lexicon and Strange Angels.


  1. Oooh, great review! I've read some mixed reviews on this - some amazing, some 'meh'. But you're the second or third blogger whose opinion I trust that's said it's amazing, so I'm totally going to check this out! I love me a tough heroine and some demon action, plus a mystery guy? Oh you know how to sway a girl ;)

  2. I'm glad you liked it! I have a copy (the US version, that is) at home. I was a little worried since I've heard mixed things but if you like it, that's good enough for me :) Beck sounds fantastic! Taylor Swift? Sold.

  3. Thanks for stopping by. I have this one in my TBR pile and hopefully can read it soon.

    Beck doesn't like chocolate?! How weird.

    Maybe the warning for older readers is to do with the fact that trapping sounds like it's a violent job?

  4. Great review! I have the US version in my TBR pile and need to move it to the top of the stack, as I love books with strong women! But I agree that it's odd someone doesn't like chocolate. Maybe he's a demon in disguise! *L*

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