| 28 April 2010 | Kelley Townley
Darren Shan is most famous for his twelve book Vampire series. He specialises in gruesome horror for teenagers and this is no different. The Demon Thief is actually the second book in his new Demonata series. The first book, Lord Loss, is, in my mind, brilliant.Demon Thief is about Kernel Fleck. Kernel has always been able to see and play with the strange lights around us that no one else can see. But one day he learns to piece them together to create doorways to other worlds, demon worlds. This becomes a necessary skill when his baby brother, Art, is kidnapped by a dog-headed demon. With the help of a motley crew of demon hunting adults, Kernel learns to master this magical skill and they track Art down to the castle of the demon Lord Loss. Kernel has to play a special game of ‘chess’ to win him back - but is Art really who Kernel thinks he is? And unfortunately the demon hunters help has come at a price. In return for helping Kernel, they want him to help them locate a special weapon powerful enough to destroy every demon world in existence. It is suggested that this tale will continue in the next book where we will begin the quest for the special weapon.My initial joy on reading this book was dampened when I realised I would not be reading about the same characters as in the first book in the series. This story is set further in the past, before the events in book 1. Interestingly one of the adult characters from book one turns up in this story as a younger character. This gave me some hope that in the end everything would be related somehow.I did find this book much harder going than book 1, much slower, repetitive in its visits to demon world after demon world, making it feel a bit boring in places. But on the whole I enjoyed it. I think one of the best things about Darren Shan’s books is the characters. You might expect the boys to be aggressive, masculine monsters but instead they are often family-loving, pant-wetting, scaredy boys reluctantly caught up in the horror and having to cope with it. Most life affirming.Naturally, it goes without saying that the book’s content is grotesque, bloody and high on the fantasy violence. Boys (and some girls) will love it. Adults will despair. But what can you do? There is no sex whatsoever. Recommended for 11+ year olds with a love of the macabre.
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