Set in the year 2018, The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver is a dark portrayal of a world overrun with demons, and the men who work to send them back to Hell where they belong. Paul Blackthorne is a famous trapper, and his 17-year-old daughter Riley has the talent for trapping demons as well. When a Level Five demon takes Paul out, Riley is alone in the world except for her father's co-worker Denver Beck, an older guy that Riley once had feelings for.
Now on her own struggling just to pay her rent, Riley is more determined then ever to become a full-fledged trapper. Balancing school, watching over her father's grave so a necromancer doesn't claim him, and apprenticing with one of the roughest masters would be difficult for anyone. But Riley is special, and Heaven has an important job for her should she choose to accept her calling.
The Demon Trapper's Daughter is marketed as a YA novel, but I think it would be more appealing to an adult audience. It took me about half of the book to get over my initial disappointment when I discovered this, but once I did I started to care about where Oliver was going in the story. In the beginning, it was really hard to connect with any of the characters. I would have liked to get to know Paul better and see him interact more with his daughter before his unfortunate death. I wasn't as sad as I feel I should have been when she was left to fend for herself. Beck is also difficult for me to like. He comes across as a drunk and a womanizer, and I couldn't at all see why Riley once had a crush on him. Couple that with his ridiculous dialect, and it makes for one annoying character. By the end of the novel, I had warmed up some to him when it's revealed that he has developed romantic feelings towards Riley. She has several potential love interests, and though she's with Simon right now, I have a bit of a soft spot for Beck and hope it works out for him.
I think this alternative version of Atlanta, Georgia is quite fascinating, but I wish that Oliver had given us more background on what exactly is going on between Heaven and Hell. I like the different classifications of demons, and some of them are even funny. I found myself being partial to Ike's demon partner, who helps him break into money meters, and also to the demon type that hoards shiny treasures and Riley's `n' key on her computer.
At first I wasn't sure I would want to continue reading on in this series, but once I reached the end I knew I wanted more. I'm definitely eager to see where Oliver goes with the Holy Water situation; it was perfectly built up in this novel to carry over into the next. A bit of a slow start, but The Demon Trapper's Daughter won me over in the end.