From the Publisher:
A STOLEN CHILD, AN ANCIENT EVIL, A FATHER’S DESCENT, AND THE LITERARY MASTERPIECE THAT HOLDS THE KEY TO HIS DAUGHTER’S SALVATION.
Professor David Ullman is among the world’s leading authorities on demonic literature, specializing in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Not that David is a believer—he sees what he teaches as a branch of the imagination and nothing more. So when the mysterious Thin Woman arrives at his office and invites him to travel to Venice and witness a ‘phenomenon,’ David is hard-pressed to overcome his skepticism.
But there are forces at work beyond anything David can imagine, and they will stop at nothing to ensure that the professor does not escape their grasp. Against his better judgment, David, accompanied by his beloved daughter, Tess, finds himself traveling to Venice, where an unspeakable horror awaits.
Soon David is pulled into a journey that will redefine what he is willing to believe. Guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David races to save his daughter. If he fails, he will lose Tess forever.
When I read the synopsis for the book, I had to pick it up. It sounded really interesting, and I find thriller/horror fiction involving demons hard to pass up. The book started off okay, and I read through it quite fast, usually unable to put it down. That being said, I was pretty disappointed in this book. Not the writing, which was quite good, nor the character development, which was also quite good. Something about the plot didn’t satisfy me.
I found the characterization of the demons a little off, and the lack of any sort of religious element strange considering the topic. It was as if any information about demons drawn solely from Paradise Lost or myths. Almost nothing from Christianity. It’s difficult for me to find any sort of real scare from demons if there is no God element involved. How can demons be real in the story if God isn’t? I don’t see how the main character could defeat them any other way.
If it didn’t end happily, I could be okay with the lack of God in the story. However, without God, I think demons would win. And they didn’t in this story. I was not scared, and the plot never felt real to me. And I think those two things are key in any good thriller/horror. Otherwise it’s just does not serve its purpose.
I have one other pet peeve. The way the author presents David’s theory of Satan as the hero of Paradise Lost is foolish. Not because it’s not a good idea, but because it’s not new idea, like Pyper suggests. It’s not a new or fresh idea at all. Lots of people say that…
Overall, The Demonologist gets a C from me. While I did like it and enjoy it, the issues I had with it were distracting and stopped me from loving it.
Beth is the founder and editor of Fuelled by Fiction. She is a twenty-something east coast Canadian girl who loves writing about books and feminism.