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The Demonata: Hell’s Heroes by Darren Shan

Hell's Heroes    The Demonata: Hell’s Heroes by Darren Shan

Hell’s Heroes is the tenth and final book in the ten book series The Demonata, his second major Young Adult horror series, after the Cirque du Freak series (also called The Saga of Darren Shan, for anyone outside of the U.S.).

 

There’s always a whole lot riding on the end of a series, particularly ones that are considered long, like The Demonata.  When someone spends a bunch of time and money invested in a story and characters, they want the last time they encounter them to be memorable, right? Sometimes they can fall flat, like the ending of The Pendragon series, and sometimes they can be spectacular, like The Infernal Devices series. However, they often times just kind of end up in the middle, much like the ending to the Harry Potter series (which some thought was a nice ending, but others found to be a little too fast and a little too flat).

I felt like I had more expectations with this book than I normally do going  into a final book in a series, because this series was introducing some really big themes in the last couple books, such as how far should you go to help people before it becomes too big a sacrifice, and just how far should one go before it becomes a pointless effort.

 

The series centers around three teenagers: Grubbs Grady, a magician who has voluntarily fallen under the family curse of lycanthropy, Kernal Fleck, who has the mysterious power to see magical lights (the remnants of the universe that existed before The Big Bang) and can put the pieces together to create windows into the demonic universe, and Bec McConn (I apparently forgot to write her name in the past few posts), a priestess who sacrificed herself to save the human race the first time the demons tried to cross over to her world.  They are all part of a ancient weapon called the Kah-Gash, which is the conscious leftover of the universe before The Big Bang. They originally thought that this weapon could destroy the demon universe, but it was revealed in Dark Calling that it can actually put the universe back to how it was before The Big Bang, which would keep the demons in their separate universe, unable to harm any other creature.

Unless the demons achieve their goal, which would put the original universe back in place, but would allow the demons to become all powerful and destroy the other creatures. It is up to Grubbs, Bec, and Kernal to band together to save what is left of life in this universe and activate the Kah-Gash, thus putting the universe into a state of peace.

The problem is that Grubbs has decided that Earth is the only planet that needs saving and refuses to work with the Ancient Ones, and has blinded Kernal and forced him to help him, while Bec seems to have stopped caring about the human race entirely. Time is running out, and the demons are becoming more powerful by the day. The only chance of survival comes from Grubbs and Kernal convincing Bec to rejoin them, but first they must fight their way through mountains of demons to the center of Lord Loss’s kingdom.

 

I talked earlier about the importance of the final book in the series, and I feel that Hell’s Heroes ended on a very good (and surprisingly positive) note. I feel like it properly tied together all the threads of the series, while providing a good ending to the main characters. And I’m going to be honest, I was getting worried for a bit. There just didn’t seem to be a happy way for this series to end.

 

Rating: 8 out of 10.

 

About Darren Shan’s writing as a whole: I bought the Cirque du Freak series and The Demonata series at the same time, because I thought The Demonata series sounded super interesting, but I had also heard good things about the Cirque du Freak series.  I decided to read Cirque du Freak first because Shan wrote that series first.

That may have not been my best idea.  Cirque du Freak was a really… simple.  I did an in depth review of that entire series last year, so I don’t want to go into it too much, but I had problems with it as a whole.

Though I could see some of the same problems in the first couple of books in The Demonata, the series as a whole seemed better and more thought out. I don’t know if it’s because the different characters narrating the story or if it comes from a more experienced author, but I consider The Demonata miles better than Cirque du Freak.

Of course, that’s my personal opinion. There are many who love Cirque du Freak, and there are good things that come from the series.  There was a snippet from the next book Darren Shan wrote after The Demonata ended, called The Thin Executioner, which has gotten good reviews.

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The Demonata: Dark Calling by Darren Shan

The Demonata   The Demonata: Dark Calling by Darren Shan

 

Dark Calling is the ninth book in the ten book The Demonata series by Darren Shan. Darren Shan is also the author of the Cirque du Freak series (alternatively titled The Saga of Darren Shan for anyone outside of the U.S.), along with some adult horror books. This is his second long running series for teens. He has also written some other horror themed books, including a prequel series for Cirque du Freak called The Saga of Larten Crepsley, and a stand-alone novel based on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, called The Thin Executioner.

 

The Demonata series has three protagonists, Grubbs Grady, who narrates Lord Loss, Slawter, Blood Beast, Demon Apocalypse, and Wolf Island, the first, third, fifth, sixth, and eighth book in the series, a teen magician also struggling with lycanthropy, Kernel Fleck, who narrates Demon Thief and Dark Calling, the second and ninth books in the series, and has the talent to see mysterious lights that can be put together to make windows to the demon universe, and Bec, who narrates Bec and Death’s Shadow, the fourth and seventh book in the series.  The three of them posses a piece of the mysterious weapon called the Kah-Gash, which they can use to destroy the demon universe.

Well, actually, it’s a little more complicated than that.  Dark Calling is all about the Kah-Gash, and what exactly it’s function in the universe is. Dark Calling picks up about a quarter through Wolf Island.  One of the Ancient Ones, a group of beings older than Earth that have given humans the ability to fight back against the demons, kidnaps Kernel and takes him to an alternate planet to tell him the history of the Ancient Ones and their war against the demons, along with his place in the fight.  They say that everything is coming to a climax, and that the fate of the universe falls into the hands of Kernal, Grubbs, and Bec.

Kernel becomes faced with a choice: does he go through with the Ancient Ones plan? Or does he return home and try to stop his planet from being taken over by demons?

 

An interesting thing about this book is that the first third of it is mostly talking, which feels a little odd in the otherwise action packed series. Not to say it wasn’t interesting, I thought the story of the Ancient Ones was one of the coolest parts of the entire series.  The thing about this book is that it raised the stakes really high for the end of the last book, Hell’s Heroes.  Hopefully, it won’t disappoint.

 

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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The Demonata: Death’s Shadow by Darren Shan

Death's Shadow     The Demonata: Death’s Shadow by Darren Shan

Death’s Shadow is the seventh book in the ten book long series The Demonata by Darren Shan, who also wrote The Cirque du Freak series (called The Saga of Darren Shan in everywhere but America), along with some other teen horror titles.

 

The last book in the series, Demon Apocalypse, hell quite literally broke loose when Lord Loss, the main villain of the series, tried to open a portal that would allow a whole slew of demons to break through into the human’s realm. Grubbs Grady, Kernal Fleck, (both who are protagonists for some of the other books in the series, and are also pieces of the Kah-Gash, a powerful weapon that could destroy the demon universe for good), and Beranabus, the ancient magician, were able to stop him, but not without some sacrifices.

It turns out that Grubbs’s younger half-brother, Bill-E, was the one who activated the tunnel, and the only way it would close was by killing him. However, something strange happened after Bill-E’s death- his body came back to life and was taken over and changed into Bec, the young priestess who stopped the last tunnel from opening thousands of years before, and whose body inhabited the cave ever since. As the third piece of the Kah-Gash,  Bec helped the others push back Lord Loss and the his demon allies, and now has returned to life in the modern world.

 

Death’s Shadow is told in Bec’s point of view, as she tries to adjust to the new modern way of living. However, Dervish, who is Grubbs and Bill-E’s uncle, doesn’t exactly make it easy for her, as the only thing he thinks she’s good for is to reminisce on Bill-E’s life.  Though eventually Bec gets him to come around, but soon after they are attacked by werewolves and are forced to leave Carcery Vale and try and find and help the others against the fearsome monster that appeared in Demon Apocalypse.

 

As well as pushing the plot forward at warp speed, Death’s Shadow also provides the back-story for Beranabus, the ancient and mysterious magician tasked with  preserving humanity against the demons, as well as provided information about the mysterious Kah-Gash and the reasons for its existence.

 

All in really have to say about this book is that it’s another really good “middle book”, the one that more to set up the next one than actually has its own definite plot line. It also provides a whole lot of world building, and highlights one of my favorite character in the series.  Overall, pretty solid piece of work.

 

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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The Demonata: Demon Apocalypse by Darren Shan

Demon Apocalypse   The Demonata: Demon Apocalypse by Darren Shan

Demon Apocalypse is the sixth book in the ten book long series, The Demonata by Darren Shan, who also wrote the very popular vampire book series The Cirque du Freak, also known as The Saga of Darren Shan for anyone not in the States.  The Demonata is a whole lot different than his first series, both stylistically and editorially, which shows his growth as a writer and the risks he is willing to take.  The Demonata is a lot more non-linear than Cirque du Freak was, and it also has a more hopeless vibe to it. It also seems like it is meant for an older age group.

 

Demon Apocalypse picks up right after Blood Beast left off: after Juni Swan, a mage who was dating Grubbs’s uncle/legal guardian, convinces the transforming Grubbs to run from his uncle to escape being executed by the extremist organization: The Lambs, they escape onto a plane headed for freedom– or so Grubbs thought, because it turns out that Juni was on the demons’ side the entire time and has summoned Lord Loss, along with some other demons, onto the plane.

Not his best idea.

Not his best idea.

Scared, Grubbs does his best to fight off the demons, and luckily some familiar faces from the series show up:  Beranabus, an ancient magician who has dedicated his life to finding the Ka-Gash, an ancient weapon that is rumored to be able to destroy the demon universe completely, and Kernal Fleck, a younger mage with the incredible ability to see magical lights that can be put together to make portals to the demon universe. Kernal is another main protagonist of the series, and the second book, Demon Thief, was told through his point of view

They rescue Grubbs and try to convince him to help them in their quest to find the other pieces of the Ka-Gash, but he’s not for it, believing himself to be too much of a coward. However, once new information is revealed about the night that Grubbs and Juni made a break from Carcery Vale, he agrees to helped Beranabus and Kernal to help save his uncle Dervish and his half-brother Bill-E.

After that, the book turns in a race against time to stop the demons from passing through the tunnel that Grubbs and Bill-E accidently dug up in Blood Beast. Stakes are high, the world is at stake, and nothing is as it seems.

 

The last five books have been building up to something really big, and this book was the thing that it was leading up to.  However, I really can’t say what that thing is, as it affects the entire rest of the series and would give away a ton of the mystery in . Let’s put it this way: we find out more about the Kah-Gash, and what exactly it does, and a whole bunch of characters from earlier in the series appear again to fulfill their role for the battles in the rest of the series.

 

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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