The world Jana Oliver creates is fresh, plausible and intriguing.I liked the fact that, in the face of these extraordinary circumstances – dangerous demons rampaging through our cities – people carry on life as normal with all the same rivalries, ambitions, and hopes.
Jana Oliver’s main character, Riley Blackthorne (great name for a heroine) the now almost obligatory kick-ass teen girl (do you remember when most heroes were boys? But then, that was when most fantasy readers were assumed to be boys) is engaging: brave and grief-stricken, rebellious, unable to see that she’s attracted to the man she’s angry at, unable to resist the tall, dark handsome stranger who also happens to save her life. It may sound clichéd when described like this but when it’s well-written, it becomes a fresh take on an old trope.
And Jana Oliver writes very well. She skillfully moves the reader through the complexities of plot and place with an admirable ability to achieve focus with a light touch. Her dialogue is witty without sounding false and she packs in just the right amount of teen angst and anticipation to keep the novel grounded and accessible.
By the way, “Forsaken” was launched in the US with the much better title of “The Demon Trapper’s Daughter” (see the cover at the top of this review)but re-christened for the UK market to look like a “House of Night” clone.
I can imagine the conversation at the Brit publisher: “Well, darling, the American title sounds like the first line in a limerick and “House of Night” made us SO much money and they’re both supernatural fantasies aimed at teen girls – frankly the simpler the marketing message the better.”