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Demon Thief

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care → Unobjectionable

In Brief: Some shocking scenes as innocent people are killed grotesquely. Kernel's devotion to rescuing his younger brother. Dervish & Shark's loyalty to Kernel.

Cover of Demon Thief

Author: Darren Shan

Series: The Demonata

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published in: 2005

Age Range: Young Teens

Period: Late 20th C

Setting: Britain / Demonic universe

Genres:  FantasyHorrorMacabre


Characters:

  • Kernel Fleck is a youngster whose ability to see mysterious lights has left him picked on and friendless.
  • Dervish and Shark are young men, Disciples of the magician Beranabus, who's devoted his life to fighting demons.

Synopsis:

Kernel Fleck, able to see lights invisble to everyone else, frightens his parents when he returns from a mysterious absence with his younger brother Art. The family move house to a friendly village where Kernel sees his new friends horribly killed by a demon which steals his brother. He gives chase and enters the universe of demons, teaming up with Beranabus and his disciples to free his brother from Lord Lost.

Notes:

More of the same from the Demonata series. There's an amount of the middle-muddle about this book, whose events occur earlier than those in Lord Loss, but which is obviously setting things up for later chapters. We meet a younger Dervish who, along with his friend Shark, remain loyal to Kernel's search for his brother.

That search brings in other of the disciples of Beranabus, but there are just too many of them and we don't care enough about them. Beranabus himself is a more complex character, an amoral manipulator with a mysterious past but one who is absolutely true to his task of demon-hunting. But we hardly care about him either. Which makes it difficult for the storyteller to know what to do once Kernel has found his brother and the twist in the tale has been revealed.

There's the now familiar horrific killings, and Kernel ends up estranged from his parents who've had to suffer in fairly quick succession the loss of a baby, then the disappearance of two more children, and then Kernel's reappearance unchanged after six years. Beranabus has a masterplan which he hopes Kernel will be part of, but it's not until Kernel's seen his parents exposed as willing accomplices to an accidental crime and has returned to face their distress that he decides to throw his lot in with Beranabus.

Fresh screams as parents find the remains of their children. A chorus of wails, growing by the second, becoming a wall of anguished sound. Some kids are still running. They don't know it's finished, that the monster's gone, that the last victim was Art.

I stumble towards the flickering window, wanting to believe there's hope, that the Indian woman will reappear with Art in her arms. Art can't be gone for ever. I can't have lost him. he's my brother.

Monday 5th March 2007