4 out of 4 stars
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It's not often that a book has me smiling and laughing out loud, much less one on the subject of demons. However, Demon Freaks by J.R.R.R. Hardison is one such book. The author strikes just the right note between action and humor so as to make this book a truly unique, fun, and exciting read.
Ron and Bing Slaughter are identical twin brothers in their junior year of high school. They are part of a band that includes a drummer named Meat and a keyboardist named Kaitlyn. The four have SATs coming up that they must study for, so they decide to study together at a Cabin owned by Meat's parents. Things don't quite go as planned, though.
Their history teacher finds them at the cabin and tries to kill them with a silver dagger (although he doesn't seem to be in possession of all his faculties at the time.) The four friends manage to tie up their teacher and decide to take him to the police station (since, of course, their cell phones aren't working.) Meat goes off in search of the dagger (for proof), and he ends up being possessed by the soul that is in the dagger (in kind of a Lord of the Rings manner.) The four end up spending the night trying to merely survive to say nothing of studying. Will the four friends make it through the night? If they do survive, will their lack of studying affect their SAT scores?
The novel mainly follows these four friends and is told in the third person perspective. The author does change characters, but this is usually indicated by either a new chapter or a section break (denoted by stars.) Keeping up with who is speaking, then, is easy; I had no difficulty figuring out who was the current subject.
The first thing that I really enjoyed about this book was the humor that the author uses. There is one passage in particular that had me laughing out loud. Meat is trying talking to a dagger that contains a human's soul as well as talking to his friend Kaitlyn. Unfortunately, the dagger is only speaking inside his head, yet he is speaking aloud. Kaitlyn can't hear the dagger. This leads to quite a funny scene of Meat talking to the dagger, but Kaitlyn thinking that he's talking to her. Things get a little out of hand in a very humorous way.
I was also impressed by the backstory contained in the novel. The author has prepared for this novel well, and it comes through in the writing. Mr. Hardison conveys to us how demons are expected to act in this story, and he stays consistent with this throughout the plot. Many times with novels that are part comedy, the author doesn't take the time to prepare. This leads to a very shallow and unrealistic story. That, however, was not the case here.
This book is not all humor and demon crushing, though. Hidden here and there throughout the novel are little nuggets of wisdom. One of the characters is about to be tortured for information, when we get the following jewel. "...if something is wrong, it's wrong, and the circumstances don't make it right." True words to live by.
There was only one minor issue that I found with the book. This story is supposed to be geared towards teens and young adults. However, there is quite a bit of violence and gore that occurs in the story. While the author uses humor throughout (which makes even some of the gore seem laughable), this might not be appropriate for younger teens. Similarly, Mr. Hardison occasionally uses words like amorphous and miasma which might be a tad advanced for those younger than high school age. On the other side of the coin, I believe that there are many adults that would enjoy this book as much as I have.
I am happy to say that I rate Demon Freaks 4 out of 4 stars. The one fault that I had with the age appropriateness of the story was not enough to knock the rating down a star. I very much enjoyed the combination of humor and action that the author uses to keep the reader engaged. I recommend this to anyone high school age or older who enjoys a funny supernatural confrontation of demons by a high school band. I hope that these friends to continue to have such adventures, and I will be the first one in line to read more of them.
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