2 out of 4 stars
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On the night before they’re due to take their SATs, four high school students, set out to their friend’s cabin in the woods to study. A huge lightning storm results in a blackout. From the edge of the woods the group can make out lots of figures coming towards the cabin. After the initial struggle to get away from the first big event of the evening, the group is split.
Kaitlyn and Meat are trapped, with a very real prospect of death hanging over them. Ron and Bing Slaughter, the twins, must do everything in their power to save them. Along the way the group discovers a world of paranormal activity that has been right under their noses their whole lives.
Demon Freaks can best be described as a good idea, but the execution needed a lot more effort. The attempts at writing action packed sequences are pretty decent. The intended humour started off strong, but got tiring as the book wore on. Kaitlyn’s character started well, but it seems that a few chapters in, she wasn’t worth the bother. The ongoing shower joke is weak at best, but not funny any time it’s made.
The main plot was enjoyable, it kept moving at a very swift pace. The entire novel takes place over the course of one night, so at times it can feel like there is a lot of action crammed into a small space. I really enjoyed the arrival of three women halfway through, but was a little peeved to get a brief description of height and hair, then a summary of ‘hot chicks’. We are still seeing women being written into literature for the whole purpose of being ‘hot chicks’ and this utterly disgusts me. We do hear this from the perspective of high school boys, however the author is a grown man and should know better.
The worst part of Demon Freaks is easily the possessed dagger. There’s an evil spirit trapped inside a dagger and it manages to make a psychic connection with one of the teenagers. It’s the following conversations with the spirit that made me cringe at almost every line. Hardison is trying oh so hard to be funny and failing at every turn. It makes for very difficult reading.
A fine example of the authors’ laziness lies in the back third of the book. We meet a character who is in a wonderful position to give us lots of exposition, but he ‘doesn’t have time’. When the clueless teenagers probe the man for more answers it ‘is not necessary for you to know, for my mission to succeed’. I was somewhat less than impressed by this.
Despite many negatives, on the whole it was fine and at least it had enough plot to keep things interesting. I rate Demon Freaks a fair enough 2 out of 4 stars. Would recommend to teenage boys, but suggest anyone else find something better.
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