Author: Royce Buckingham
Genre: Paranormal Middle Grade
Release Date: 10/02/08
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
Ever since his mentor -- the original Demonkeeper -- mysteriously disappeared, Nat has been in charge of the demons that live in his house. Most of them are just nuisances, but the Beast who lives in the basement is very dangerous. When Nat goes out one night, a clueless burglar breaks into the house and unwittingly sets the Beast free. Meanwhile, a vicious villain, the Thin Man, wants to use the Beast for his own evil purposes. Can Nat defeat the Thin Man and return the Beast to the basement without any major casualties?
Plot: 3 Stars
This novel was my second middle grade novel (the first being The Lightning Thief). I wanted to love it, but it was a bit lacking in details. We know that Nat's mentor has passed away, but we do not really know what happened. He is now in charge of this house full of demons, but we don't really learn much about the demons, except for Nat's three minions and the Beast. Nat's minions are interesting, but even their powers are barely mentioned. At one point, a comment is made that having three minions means the Demonkeeper is very strong, but it is never elaborated on. Outside of these lack of details, the story was quite enjoyable. There were some twists I wasn't expecting, but there were also a few I saw coming.
Pace: 2 Stars
For such a short novel, there were a lot of chapters. Some of these short chapters felt a bit choppy, especially when they kept jumping from one point of view to the next. I feel like this novel could've been a bit longer and included a little more information without really slowing down the pace. The point of view jumping wasn't a problem because it helped get to know each character, but it sometimes seemed like chopped the timeline up. There would be a chapter involving Nat then the next couple would jump to other character, and when it got back to Nat a couple chapters later, almost no time had passed.
Characters: 3 Stars
What we learned about each character was very interesting and unique, but I wanted more. It felt like we only skimmed the surface of each character, like it was more important that they fit the roles needed to further the plot than to actually become their own person. We didn't get to learn nearly enough about Nat's past for him to be the main character. And the Thin Man didn't really have any characteristics besides being the evil antagonist of the story. It's not that these characters were bad. I actually enjoyed them. I just wanted more from them.
Cover: 2.5 Stars
I really enjoyed that Nat's three minions were included on the cover, especially since they look exactly how they were described. Their details and colors really catch the eye. Other than the minion, the cover is a bit boring. The background is flat black. There's no detail in the background to give a better idea of the story and setting. And Nat is only included in profile. This would work if his minions had played a bigger part, but Nat was the focus of the novel so it would've been nice to see more than just his outline. The font and color choices for the title and author fit in with the minions, but take up a bit too much of the cover.
Overall: 2.5 Stars
Disclosure: I bought this novel (from the bargain section) for my own reading pleasure.