2 out of 4 stars
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Demonslayer by Ian P. Eviston takes place in a world where magic, demons, and aether are commonplace. The demons and humans have a tentative treaty, but not all the demons are happy with it. Members of their race are starving to death; they feed off the aether of humans which they can't do with the current treaty. There is a synthetic aether substitute, but it's not enough to feed all of the demons. A rebellion is imminent, and humans are at risk.
Emily and Spirit Clayborn live in the poor section of the town of Crossus, along with every other miscreant of their society. Their parents were taken from them when they were young, and they were banished to this section of town. Emily is dying from leukemia, and Spirit is determined to do whatever it takes to cure her, even if it means losing his own life in the process. He competes against others in a tournament where the loser has body parts fed to cannibals to make money for her treatments. When battling another undefeated champion, something changes within Spirit that will change life as he knows it.
I loved the premise behind Demonslayer. Humans and demons coexisting in a tentative peace that's short-lived? It's action-packed, going non-stop from almost the first scene. I can guarantee you won't be bored when reading this novel. I think my favorite part was Spirit discovering that there's more to him than meets the eye. It introduces the reader to the world of magic and all the rules that go with it.
The story is in the third person perspective, but we follow several different characters throughout the novel. We even get a glimpse into life as a demon. When demons want to destroy the human race for their purposes, you wouldn't think that you'd sympathize with them at all, but the author helps us to do just that by showing us their lives, their spouses, and their children.
Having said that, the shift in perspectives is not always clear. There were instances where one second we'd be following along with Spirit; the very next paragraph, however, we'd be in a completely different location with another character. Several times I found myself having to reread to figure out the new perspective. I felt like the transitions should have been delineated, so this wouldn't be an issue.
In spite of the problem with perspectives, I enjoyed the variety of characters that the author presented. There are different cultures, even within the human race, each with their own peculiarities. One of my favorites was a young adult named Taya. She doesn't always use phrases correctly, which leads to some humorous moments in the midst of what could otherwise be an overly somber situation. At one point, she says, "You should not engage in the judging of books by the face you see." When Spirit corrects her, she then says, "That is it! Do not do the assuming of things."
Sadly, the book lacks professional editing. There were errors in every part of the book. Homophone errors ("queue" instead of "cue") and typographical errors ("hey" instead of "they") were the most common. It was enough that it was distracting to the story, and I found myself having to scour a few sentences to discover the hidden meaning. Still, the author used a few ten dollar words that I enjoyed learning. For example, he uses the words cachinnation and chary.
I would love to give Demonslayer a perfect score, but the errors were too numerous and the perspective changes too jarring. Therefore, I must rate it 2 out of 4 stars. That's not to say the book doesn't have merit; I loved the characters, technology, and magic. Once it's edited appropriately, I would be glad to change my score. As it is, I recommend it to those that enjoy a good fantasy novel, but you must be able to overlook errors and keep up with perspective changes. I must end with a word of caution. While I wouldn't necessarily classify the book as having a cliffhanger ending, it does make a segue towards the next book in the series. If you aren't interested in reading a series, you will want to avoid this book. It is also somewhat violent with dark characters and gory scenes; therefore, I wouldn't recommend it to a younger audience. Even with its issues, I can't wait to see what Mr. Eviston comes up with next!
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