Thursday, 31 March 2011

Thursday Thoughts: Review of The Demon Collector by Jon Mayhew

Originally posted at the Bookbag, thanks to the publisher for sending us a copy.

Edgy Taylor – a 19th century dog muck collector for a cruel master, Talon – wouldn't claim to have had the best of lives. His only enjoyment of his 13 years or so so far has been setting and solving riddles, while he's spent most of his time avoiding the cruelty of his employer. But when Professor Envry Janus rescues him from Talon, revealing the tanner to be a demon called Thammuz and turning him to stone, Edgy may have cause to look back on his old life with nostalgia. Because inside the Royal Society of Daemonologie, there are people who think Edgy can help them in their quest to find the heart of the legendary demon Moloch, who turned against Satan. There are people who think he's a nuisance. And there are people who want him dead. Can Edgy figure out who's who? He'll have to, because a mistake could cost him his life.

Like Mortlock, this is a wonderfully entertaining read from author Jon Mayhew who is establishing himself impressively quickly as someone who can deliver a thrilling story right from the start. The atmosphere is once again cranked up by some of the English folk world's most chilling lyrics, along with appropriate proverbs, breaking up the chapters, and again this works really well in conveying a sense of dread. I was also really impressed by Mayhew's description of the history of Moloch, Satan, the female demon Salome who chases Edgy through much of the book, and the many minor demons – some of whom are surprisingly friendly – who he meets.

Oh, and one of my few complaints from Mayhew's first book has been rectified here. I felt Mortlock, after a superb build-up, climaxed extremely quickly which was the only part I wasn't so keen on. No such problem here – it's a long, drawn out confrontation between Edgy and the villain of the piece which leads to a deeply satisfying ending which does a great job of tying together the loose ends in a very complex plot.

High recommendation here for fans of fantasy and horror, although there's nothing tremendously scary and I'd be very happy to give it to children who weren't quite teenagers yet.

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