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Review: Soul Thief

Soul Thief, the second book in the Demon Trappers series by Jana Oliver, will be released in the U.S. on August 30, 2011 in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

In the U.K. the book is titled Forbidden and releases on 5 August 2011. It is currently available to pre-order at Amazon UK in paperback and eBook formats.

Published by St. Martin’s Griffin, the print edition is 320 pages.

*Goodreads description is seriously spoilery for the first book*

Goodreads description:

Riley Blackthorne is beginning to learn that there are worse things than death by demon. And love is just one of them…

Seventeen-year-old Riley has about had it up to here. After the devastating battle at the Tabernacle, trappers are dead and injured, her boyfriend Simon is gravely injured, and now her beloved late father’s been illegally poached from his grave by a very powerful necromancer. As if that’s not enough, there’s Ori, one sizzling hot freelance demon hunter who’s made himself Riley’s unofficial body guard, and Beck, a super over-protective “friend” who acts more like a grouchy granddad.  With all the hassles, Riley’s almost ready to leave Atlanta altogether.

But as Atlanta’s demon count increases, the Vatican finally sends its own Demon Hunters to take care of the city’s “little” problem, and pandemonium breaks loose. Only Riley knows that she might be the center of Hell’s attention: an extremely powerful Grade 5 demon is stalking her, and her luck can’t last forever…

***

Things in Atlanta are a mess. The Guild can’t get a handle on their local demon population and it looks like the Hunters from Rome will have to step in and help. But their kind of help always comes at a price.

No one is sure what happened at the Guild meeting that landed several trappers in the morgue and others severely injured. But whatever it was, someone is to blame and it looks like everyone wants to point the finger at Riley and Paul Blackthorne.

On top of all of this, Riley is still trying to figure out why she’s being specifically targeted by a Grade Five Geo-Fiend and who could have wanted her father so badly yet hasn’t come forward to brag about their success. Plus, her love life has taken a serious turn for the worse. And she was so sure she’d found the perfect boyfriend.

With Denver Beck practically ignoring her except when he’s telling her what to do and Simon still trying to come to terms with what happened to him, Riley only has one shoulder to lean on and that’s Ori’s – a freelance Hunter who has assigned himself as her personal bodyguard.

Having someone who is tall, dark and dangerous looking out for her can’t be all bad. And no matter what Beck says, she’s not about to stay away from Ori. Besides, if Beck can play with danger, in the form of a red-headed reporter, why can’t she?

***

Soul Thief is yet another fast-paced, exciting and gripping young adult novel from author Jana Oliver. The action picks up right where it left off at the end of the first book, The Demon Trapper’s Daughter. Atlanta is in chaos. The trappers are shell-shocked and still trying to regroup after the attack at the Tabernacle.

Riley is desperately trying to get answers about who’s behind what happened to her father, Beck is enlisted as one of the spokespersons for the Guild now that they’ve caught the attention of the Vatican, and the demon who has been after her is still out there somewhere, biding his time.

Jana Oliver has written a sequel that not only continues the events from the first book, but builds on them. She expands her world and gives her characters even more dimension.

Her main character, Riley Blackthorne, is still tough, reckless, brave and stubborn, but the author also shows a side of her that is sympathetic, fragile and incredibly lovable. And she gives readers greater insight into Denver Beck’s thoughts and emotions. She shows a softer side of Beck, while not taking away from any of his strength. He is still fiercely protective of Riley, loyal to Paul, and a trapper through and through.

While the trapping of demons has been moved to the background in this book, there are several new threats to Riley and the Atlanta Trappers. The Demon Hunters of Rome, the Priest that oversees them, and the powerful force behind what happened to Paul Blackthorne are the new and dangerous, perhaps even deadly, ingredients added to the mix.

Many questions are answered, but even more are raised, and a surprise twist takes this in a new direction and leaves events at a cliffhanger at the story’s end.

Soul Thief is undoubtedly a must read, not only for fans of the first book, but for readers who love their main characters with a bit of an edge, demons who are not smokin’ hot, just smoking, and a plot that will keep them glued to the pages right from the start. It is action-packed, tension-filled and one heck of a great read.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=6]. Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

On a personal note:

This book so blew The Demon Trapper’s Daughter out of the water. And I freaking loved that book. But this book…I can’t even begin to tell you just how much this one slaughtered me.

I became obsessed with this series when I received an early copy of The Demon Trapper’s Daughter last year from a Goodreads win. It had a completely different feel to any other story about demons that I had read up to that point. There were no hot demon boys – those demons were really disgusting, some of whom were seriously vicious. But there were definitely a few hotties – hello, Den Beck. And in Soul Thief Ori is definitely some major competition.

I read this book in one fairly long sitting. I did take my time with it as I saw absolutely no reason to rush and possibly miss something key. And besides, the longer I took to read it, the more time I could spend with Den, Ori and Riley.

Riley and Den absolutely tortured me in good and bad ways. They are just so perfect for each other – they are both trappers and both are incredibly stubborn and fiercely protective.

I practically can’t talk about anything because there are just so many ways to unintentionally reveal spoilers, especially about Ori and Simon, who play major parts in the book. But I will say that there was a lot more of a mystery in Soul Thief as the characters tried to figure out what was behind what happened at the Guild meeting at the end of the last book.

I love the way Jana Oliver makes her readers think they know everything when the characters don’t, but in actuality she’s only giving us a peek at what’s going on. Misleading us into believing one thing, when whammo it is something so totally else.

There were a few definite foreshadow moments that got me to thinking, which I might have missed if I had read it any quicker. So the ending didn’t completely come out of left field. But I did not expect everything that happened. Oh Riley, what did you do?

I loved Den Beck way more in Soul Thief. I really didn’t think that was possible, but so much more was revealed about him that made him that even more swoon-worthy – he allowed some of his feelings and his vulnerability to show.

The U.S. title is absolutely perfect for the book as, just like the first book, it means something to the story and is not just some arbitrary title.

I am dying to read the next book and I will be cruelly suffering until it’s released, because that ending leaves so much up in the air. So many ways for things to get even worse. So many possibilities for a really, really bad outcome.

***

I had so many favorite passages and quotes, but here are just a few of the non-sexy and non-spoiler-y ones:

A laugh cut through the air, cold and cruel, but the demon did not materialize. “The war comes, Divine,” it said. “On whose side will you be?”

And

Denver Beck was a hard guy to like and even harder to understand. One thing was clear: His word was golden.

And

Out of the corner of her eye she saw her vamp stalker trip over a headstone and do a total face-plant in the dirt, fake teeth and all.

***

If you haven’t read The Demon Trapper’s Daughter and would like to check out my review and the Goodreads description, click here.

This review is based on an ARC I received as part of a tour from the author.

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