I had to go to the ER recently. I had just finished a great book, so I grabbed what looked like a good book from my library stack. I wanted one I had received in large print, as it makes it easier to read when I’m in pain. In my mind, any book (or series of books) that can take your mind off shortness of breath, pain, and an ER visit is worth a review!
Julie Kenner has written other bestselling books, but the Demon series (Carpe Demon and California Demon, plus the newest Demons Are Forever) stands out as spectacular. In this series you have a mother who at first seems to be completely normal – she has a husband, a teenager, a toddler, and all the joys and problems that go with those. And then you find out she has a past as a Demon Hunter trained by the Vatican! Unlike most books, she is written to truly interact with her kids, who are actually written as normal children. The people seem real, and Kate’s dilemmas about Demon Hunting include her angst about putting her toddler in day care – it’s a welcome change from the many books where the kids are magically cared for in the background while the mom is the center of attention. These kids get their fair share of mom’s time. The depth of emotion behind the character of Kate is also unusual. Her first husband (and Demon Hunting partner) died, and she is now married to a wonderful man – but she and her daughter cannot forget their love for her first husband.
Carpe Demon introduces us to Kate, teenage daughter Allie, late husband Eric, second husband Stuart, toddler son Tim, and best friend Laura. We learn of her history as a Demon Hunter raised in the Vatican as an orphan. We watch her dilemma between keeping her family together (and her son out of day care) and saving her town from Demons. This is a page turner of the best kind! Julie Kenner builds her characters into people we want to go have coffee with – all the major characters have depth, and the twists she builds into the plot aren’t what you expect.
California Demon picks up a few months after the first book left off. The theme of the book is secrets – the secret Kate is keeping from her husband, the secrets Kate and her daughter find out her first husband was keeping from her, the problems in her best friend’s marriage, and others. The story is gripping, yet has some wonderful funny parts. Plus the parts that make you teary – Kate’s love for her late husband, as well as her daughter’s love for her late father are superbly written. As with Carpe Demon, the characters are all incredibly well fleshed out and real. The twists and turns of the plot keep you fascinated, and then surprised. I am left wondering if the author knows something about the world that we don’t know… are there really Demon Hunters and Demons out there?
I have one nit-picky problem – the subtitles of all 3 books is “The Secret Life of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom”. And yet no one plays soccer. I understand that “soccer mom” is used to describe stay-at-home moms in suburbia, especially those with minivans, but still. It’s one of my pet peeves. But that’s really my only problem with the books.
When Demons Are Forever was released, it definitely lived up to the wait – check out the series!