- File Size: 2644 KB
- Print Length: 322 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1546787356
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: May 30, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0713NH23M
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,733 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Demon Leap: a Supernatural Thriller (The Specials Book 1) Kindle Edition
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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On page one, we meet the protagonist Arrow St. Marx; student at Filkmore Academy pointing a gun in the face of her counselor Mr. Morrison demanding that he allow her to graduate despite abysmal grades.
Arrow is desperate to graduate from school because it's the only way she will be able to get her certificate in her magical field. You see in the world of Demon Leap; all magic users are separated into specializations that they are born with, and it's illegal to use their abilities without a license.
Arrow needs money that only a high paying magically focused profession can offer so that she can pay for medication for her sick grandmother. This medication suppresses granny's powers as she is a telepath suffering from dementia and a loss of control. Think Charles Xavier from the "Logan" film but to a smaller degree. If Arrow can't pay, her grandmother will be submitted to a government-sponsored euthanasia program called "The Crossing."
Her dementia and loss of control was a side effect of genetic enhancements she received from the government as a prerequisite for joining a special task force. This task force's existence was to defeat a mad scientist named Dr. Febrero who melted the polar ice caps killing thousands in coastal cities all over the world. In addition to that, Febrero had at his disposal a vast army of demons freed from the polar caps he melted. He then controlled this army to wage a war against humanity.
Did you get all that? I've seen plots from "villain of the week" 80's cartoons that were better thought out than this mess.
This backstory feels like what you would create if you started a story with the first idea that popped into your head and then operated under a rule where you had to include literally any idea you came up with after that initial premise.
It should be very clear at this point the author has a bad habit of being overly heavy-handed in her writing. Using fifty words when it could have been done in four.
You can see this not only in the plot but her naming of the different types of magical users. Using a title like "Master level Time Manipulation specialist" when Chrono-mancer would be much more succinct. It gets so bad that not only does she abbreviate the terms every chance she gets, but includes a glossary at the beginning for you to refer to in case of confusion.
In addition to a needlessly convoluted plot, we have a wholly unlikable protagonist.
Arrow adamantly insists that there's nothing special about her and has several bouts of self-depreciation complaining about her believed non-special status. This is despite the fact that she comes from a historic lineage through her grandmother. She has a special condition known as "Glyph Eye" that is so rare that most people don't believe it exists. She is specially selected to join a team of renegade magic users, and at one point in the book, she resists a mental attack from an enemy when no one else was able to. Finally, the supporting cast is only too happy to make deposits to Arrow's self-esteem bank.
How Arrow thinks of herself:
Page 24: "He had recently proposed to his girlfriend. I hadn't met her yet, but I'd heard she was gorgeous, therefore no one I could compete with."
Page 154: "I'd found strength in the memory of a genuine hero. Not because anything powerful or courageous existed within me."
How supporting characters view Arrow:
Page 26: "You're brilliant and wonderful."
Page 73: "Arrow was beautiful in an understated way, yet oddly fierce in personality as though she continually battled an opposition that the rest of the world did not."
Page 241: "Beneath the glow of the Edison lamps, the highlights in her hair shone like threads of gold, and more than one bar patron noted her passage. Arrow, however, had no interest in anyone. She was on a mission, and her determination helped Elliott find his footing."
Examples like the ones above appear ad nauseum throughout the story. You can imagine how obnoxious it is listening to Arrow mope and whine just so another character can build her up either during the same conversation or in a later chapter as a pathetic attempt by the author to make her character appear humble. "If other characters are prostrating themselves before Arrow and she constantly acts undeserving of it then she's a balanced character!" ^_^ No Tricia it actually makes her all the more insufferable!
Not to be outdone by other terrible urban fantasy authors, *cough Shane Silvers *cough, Tricia Owens proves that female authors can write male characters just as terribly as some of her male counterparts write female characters.
The vast majority of male characters seem to be written as sexually non-threatening as possible. Meanwhile, most of the female characters have very aggressive personalities and are much more magically powerful than the majority of male characters.
There's Elliott a shy, sensitive boy with the power to control animals.
He gets bullied by Calia a girl who can hurl lightning bolts
Page 230: "She [Calia] attacked me before knowing I was a special," I murmured. "I...may have told her."
Elliott cringed apologetically. "I didn't want to. But she killed my squirrels and..."
I put up a hand to stop him. "You don't need to explain, Elliott."
You have to read carefully to find the testosterone in all that simpering.
Arrow mentions on a few occasions that she finds Elliott to be "cute." The word is honestly used as a pejorative.
Cute like how you'd view a puppy or a small child. Neither of which would you think of as being capable, or to be taken seriously.
Next, you have Jasper with no magic to speak of who is also Arrow's love interest. First, there's a huge power imbalance right away between Arrow and Jasper with him being a squib. This could be corrected by giving Jasper a stronger personality instead of his current role as
"Hunky bartender who says nice things to Arrow"
If that wasn't bad enough Jasper is currently in an abusive relationship with his uber magically endowed fiancee Rogette.
Their small interaction reads like an abused spouse's diary with Jasper being manhandled by his fiancee
while lamenting his desire for someone to save him.
Page 75: "It was disappointing to him how few of his friends had questioned his and Rogette's whirlwind romance. Why hadn't anyone tried to talk him out of it? Why hadn't anyone bothered to look into his eyes? Or into hers?"
Listen to this simpering drivel. I've read "Moon Called" by Patricia Briggs and the male love interests are strong, capable, and maybe even domineering at times. The female protagonist of that book repeatedly asserts herself against them and takes them to task in a very real way.
I can't even imagine what Arrow would see in the unconfident dish rag that is Jasper because women in the real world do not want to have to save their men.
And your female characters don't automatically become strong or well rounded just because you decided to write your male character weaker and with less dimension than your females. This is demonstrated very clearly in Demon Leap as both main male characters are bullied by women.
Jasper acts as a Renfield for Rogette, while Elliott is told by Calia during her fight with Arrow on page 216,
"Yeah pretty boy, this game is for the ladies."
Reverse the genders, and it's a male character saying, "Hey pumpkin, sit there and be quiet, the men are talking."
Because as you know if a man does it, it's sexist. But if a woman does it it's empowering.
In conclusion, Demon Leap is an urban fantasy novel with an overly convoluted ridiculous plot, an insufferable protagonist, and a male cast written so badly it borders on misandry. My advice to Tricia Owens would be taking the entire series back to formula as this feels like a first draft in desperate need of plot reworking and character development.
The rest of the characters are quite intense. Most of them are creepy or downright repellent, in the good and fun way. Some of them are interesting and I want to know more about them, right along with Arrow. But all of them are dynamic, even the ones that are two-dimensional ( I mean that literally. There is a patch of concrete that communicates.)
The story is well-thought out. This isn't a cookie-cutter story line. Like any good novelist, Owens is pulling from the current fears and concerns of the world, weaving them into a very compelling story of deceit and intrigue, cover-ups and rebellion. This is a story most people can buy into and enjoy while also being given that slight hollowness in the gut that indicates it hits a little close to home. This makes it real and solid and something I completely fell into without a single hesitation. The resolution of the story was incredibly clever and I admit I said, “Aha! Yes, of course! I totally forgot that!” out loud.
There are enough baited hooks in this story for me to be very keen on the next Specials book coming out. I am eager to continue down the rabbit hole and keep up with some of these characters (and wait with bated breath for the hoped-for downfall of some of the nastier ones, of course.) I would happily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Urban Fantasy.