Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lord Loss

The Demonata: Lord Loss, by Darren Shan
$8.99 at Amazon.com
ISBN: 0-316-01233-5
This is a fast-paced novel of the horror genre, from the Teen section of my local bookstore. I picked it up because of the spooky cover, and got into it immediately.
Grubitsch "Grubbs" Grady, the teenage hero, grows up in a world built in some post-apocalyptic nightmare. He's fourteen, experimenting with cigarettes and playing childish pranks on his sister when he's sent to his aunt's house for a weekend.
He sneaks away and returns home, only to see a vicious demon named Lord Loss and his terrifying henchmen savagely killing his parents and sister.
The authorities are convinced he's out of his mind, and Grubbs soon ends up in a mental institution. Here, well-meaning but misguided psychiatrists  pump him with drugs and therapy to try to convince him that the demons, who might well be after him, are just delusions. He's soon locked in a padded cell, restrained in a strait-jacket.
In other words, it's an intense couple of opening chapters, with levels of brutality and terror you don't normally find in the Teen section. This is not a childish book.
It's also very gross at times. The demon henchmen, named Vein and 
Artery, alternately look like a dead green baby with leeches for hair, and a sickly man soaked in blood with a snake-filled hole where his heart should be. The scenes where the demons kill people are definitely over-the-top violent. Friday the 13th level gore in every scene.
Grubbs is rescued from his pathetic situation by his mysterious uncle, a man named Dervish. He's a demon-hunter who's waging a war on the very creatures whom Grubbs 
witnessed. He offers his young nephew training, but never real safety.
Now, let me re-iterate: it's a horror novel marketed to the under-18 crowd, so please don't expect a masterpiece of literary genius. Character development and plot morays take a back seat to startling action scenes. If blood-soaked terror is what you're in the mood for, Lord Loss delivers.
Darren Shan has written a critically acclaimed set called Cirque Du Freak, which I also recommend. This is the first book in a promising new series he's taken on, which seems to be marketed to older kids. So far, I'd say it shows a lot of promise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow the demon lord himself i have 4 of the 6 books and i read them all the time!