Sunday, February 9, 2014

Book review: Grave Matters (The Demon Trappers #4.5) by Jana Oliver

Grave Matters (The Demon Trappers #4.5) by Jana Oliver
YA paranormal
Paperback/eBook, 178 pages
Published December 2nd 2013 by Nevermore Books (first published December 1st 2013)

A Demon Trappers Novella 

A legendary Demon Trapper, Riley Blackthorne frequently battles with Hell’s minions. So when she travels to Scotland to meet up with her hunky boyfriend, and celebrate her eighteenth birthday, she’s thrilled at the chance to leave Atlanta and its troubles behind. 

Denver Beck, who has been studying for months to become a Grand Master – a rare and highly dangerous job -- is just as eager to see his girl. He’s anticipating a romantic reunion, keen to take their relationship to the next level. 

But Riley’s twisted history with Hell has garnered unwelcome interest by people willing to use her for their own purposes. Trouble is brewing in the land of the heather, the kind that will drive a wedge between her and Beck, and prove the ultimate test of their love . . . and their survival skills. 

Bonus content includes demon illustrations and two Demon Trappers short stories.

I will drop whatever I'm doing when I learn there's a new Demon Trappers story to read. One of my top favorite YA paranormal series, I love Riley and Beck. Fans of this addictive series will be stoked to know author Jana Oliver has written a novella, Grave Matters, which takes place after the heart pounding/stopping battle of Foretold (book #4). So what happens?

I don't want to spoil this for fans so I will say I purchased this novella (not bad for 178 pages) and read it as quickly as possible. I do wish it was longer--I can't help my addiction to this couple. For it's shorter length, the story took our beloved characters in a new direction. Beck is now in Scotland, on track to become a Grand Master. Riley remains back home but as her eighteenth birthday approaches, goes to visit her boyfriend. What happens to her once she arrives in Scotland is typical Riley and a mystery is born. I liked meeting some of the other Grand Masters and seeing the machinations of the Guild from an insider's perspective. 

What Jana Oliver excels at most is build-up and relationships. Honestly, who am I kidding? Ms. Oliver is a fantastic writer! Who wants to use Riley and to what gain? What is next for Riley and Beck now that they've become a 'couple'? Even with his gruff exterior, I always delight in seeing these glimpses of the softer Beck. In Grave Matters, both characters expose other side of themselves. Beck turns downright priggish in one part (can't say why). Despite some surprising angst-filled moments, Riley is maturing into a terrific young woman and I wonder about those marks on her palms. What do they really mean and what do they truly enable her to do? Of course, I loved their scenes together. Riley is no longer a 'girl' and Beck can no longer push aside his feelings for her--they share an incredible bond which is put to the ultimate test in this outing. I also found it interesting to see their relationship come full circle: in the first book Beck shuts down Riley's admittance of feelings for him and she appears to do the same thing here.

I don't mind spending time in the Demon Hunters world, it's a cherished place for this reader. This installment furthers the Guild'c cause, strengthens a wonderful couple's bonds (in all of its messy and gritty realistic glory), gives readers a glimpse of Scotland, and only makes me yearn for more. It's shorter length made this feel more like an appetizer than a full three course meal, but as a fan I welcome any Trappers story. I will admit I found an inordinate number of typos in this purchased copy and wonder what happened to the editor. Otherwise, I enjoyed my 'stay' with Beck and Riley and if ever Jana Oliver wants to resurrect this series or give fans a spin-off (hello, Simon), I will once again drop what I'm doing to read it. Cause that's what rabid fans like me do. 

Rating: 4

Cover comment:
This cover does not match the others in the series and the model has changed. That's OK. I like this cover, but it could be a bit more exciting.

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