Saturday, August 27, 2016

THE DEMONISTS: A REVIEW

The Demonists (Demonists Book One)
Written by: Thomas E. Sniegoski
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Roc
Language: English
April 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror/Series

There is more to our world than meets the eye—darker things, crueler things. Exorcist John Fogg 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...


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As we get closer to the fall season I love picking up more horror related titles in both my book selections and film selections. I have always been a bit of a horror junkie. Even when I was a kid I loved reading Fear Street and Christopher Pike. My favorite shows included gems like Tales from the Darkside and Friday the 13th the series. So it should be no surprise that when I saw the Demonists I had to pick it up. Okay, so I also really like Thomas E Sniegoski a lot so that probably helped.

‘John Fogg preferred the company of ghosts”.

John Fogg has spent his life traveling the world and studying the paranormal and the occult. For some, he is one of the most well-known experts on the weird and the unusual. With his wife Theodora, a powerful medium in her own right, they have built a life investigating the paranormal. One night for Halloween John, Theo, and the team of Spirit Chasers investigate the House of Tribulation hoping to get a boost in ratings for their television show. But as the night goes on they barely have a boo or a bump in the night. It was supposed to be a simple exorcism, a Halloween special…It was a trap.

The world watches as the crew is massacred on live television. Authorities said it was a gas explosion, but it was so much more than that. It ended with Theodora and John Barely surviving. Now a host of malevolent demon spirits have possessed Theo’s body leaving her catatonic fighting for her life and her very soul. However, Theodora’s possession is only one piece of the plot to bring Hell on Earth.

John looks for anything to help save his wife. He even travels overseas to investigate a new excavation site that might hold an ancient occult library. A mysterious group called the Coalition say that they might be able to help. But can they be trusted?

Meanwhile, half a dozen children have gone missing since Halloween night. FBI Agent Brenna Isabel is determined to find the missing kids before time runs out. Time is running out for everyone. Can John save the world and his wife before it’s too late?

Things I liked: Urban fantasy meets horror. Its gory. Its violent. It’s disturbing. Yep my kind of book even though, at times, it feels very much like the first book in a trilogy. I like the premise. I like that Theo risked everything, doing the only she could think of. In fact, Theo is one of my favorite characters. She struggles so much and really is the hero of the story. To save the world she became a vessel. She struggles with her sanity and her willpower. Not to mention the legion of demons eager to tear her apart from within and finally escape into the world. She wants to be reunited with her husband, but she also just wants it to stop.

I like John too because of how utterly flawed he is. John loves his wife, maybe too much. Because of his love for her he makes rash decisions that threaten more lives than his own. But I like that he is flawed. It makes him more sympathetic, makes him feel more real. I also enjoyed Nana although her appearances are brief. And The Teacher, whoo, what an awesome, awesome villain. He was delightfully creepy and horrifying. Exactly the kind of villain you love to hate.

Finally, the book is almost cinematic its vivid descriptions and action scenes. This is great. In fact, I think it would make a great TV show. At least I would watch it. The story is fairly solid and I am excited to read the next entry.

Things I didn’t like so much: While I really enjoyed the book, there were some flaws. Theo’s character development could have been more. I want her to be more than John’s wife, his reason for everything he does now (instead of you know saving the world). At the beginning I felt like they were equals, as Theo wouldn’t have it any other way. And then she became a reason and a damsel in distress. Eventually I feel like we got her back and I look forward to seeing her grow as the trilogy continues.

I also wanted to read more about Theo and John’s bond. They say they are madly in love, but I wanted to see more that reflected that.

The pacing is quick which is both a good and bad thing. There is never really a dull moment for me. Though it drags slightly in the middle, it finds its footing again fairly quickly. However, I will say because the pacing is so frenetic it means that the dread never really builds. Which is a shame because all of the elements are there.

Despite some minor flaws it was a solid story. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. If you like Sniegoski or are in the mood for a little horror this might be right up your alley.

Part of: A Planned Trilogy.

Also Recommended: For more urban fantasy meets horror try Mike Carey’s Felix Castor series. Thomas Sniegoski’s Remy Chandler series is also a fun read. If you like your horror with some humor Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series is a lot of fun.


4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

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