Thank you NetGalley and Roc for providing an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review.
There is more to our world than meets the eye–darker things, crueler things. Exorcist John Gogh and his wife, psychic medium Theodora Knight, know what lurks in the shadows. But even they’re not prepared for the worst Hell has to offer…
It was supposed to be a simple exorcism, a publicity stunt to firmly establish John and Theodora’s thriving paranormal investigation empire in the public eye. But something went wrong, leading to an on-air massacre that unleashed a malicious host of demons and left Theodora catatonic, possessed by countless spirits.
John sets out on a desperate quest to find a cure for his wife, but his obsession brings him face-to-face with an even more terrifying problem: Theodora’s possession is only one piece of a deadly plot that is threatening the entire world. Because an ancient evil is about to make Earth its battlefield–and without John and Theodora’s intervention, there is no chance for salvation…
I’m a huge fan of Thomas Sniegoski who I think is one of the best writers of urban fantasy/horror out there, so I’ve been anxiously anticipating this new series by him since I heard about it last year. The best way to describe this is to say it’s like The Exorcist with urban fantasy elements. While I love the premise of the story/series, there are a few issues with this book that made it a bit of a rocky beginning for me. My main problem was that I never quite connected with John and Theodora. The books begins when they first meet but immediately jumps to a few years later, with them married and the hosts of a successful tv show. I think Theodora is a little more developed than John but at the end of the story I still didn’t really have a sense of who they were as individuals, nor did I feel the full strength of their bond. There are also frequent point-of-view switches which I think contributed to my difficulty in becoming emotionally invested in the characters. Interestingly, some of the secondary characters were written extremely well, particularly Agent Brenna Isabel, whose backstory was heartbreaking and the antagonist Barrett Winfield who is as sick and twisted as you’d want a villain to be. His transformation into “The Teacher” is both revolting and riveting. The world-building is phenomenal and the story moves at a breakneck speed which on the one had ensures there are no boring moments, but on the other, it doesn’t allow enough time for the horror to build. The book is only 336 pages long, and I think if it had been a little longer there would have been more room for character development and the opportunity for those feelings of terror to take root.
If you like urban fantasy and horror I recommend The Demonists even with its flaws. Be warned though: it’s not for the faint of heart. Some of the scenes are gruesomely graphic, and even had me cringing a bit. Overall it’s an intriguing beginning to what looks to be an exciting new urban-horror series, and I’m looking forward to the next book.
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