Lord Loss (The Demonata #1) by Darren Shan
Grubbs Grady was a normal kid. Sure, he liked to play awful pranks on his sister, and his parents had a strange obsession with chess, but, overall, Grubbs’ life was basically normal. That is, normal until he comes home to find his family brutally slaughtered by demons. Lord Loss, the first book in the Demonata series, takes you Grubbs' admittance into a mental institute, and his strange relationship with his new-found Uncle Dervish. There is also the matter of finding out why demons killed his family. Not to mention, how werewolves and chess get involved.
If you are squeamish, this book isn’t for you. This book is so packed full of gore, it couldn’t even be made into a successful horror film. It would require far too much fake blood. Magic allows the characters to sustain a lot more pain than what would be realistically possible, so, there are a lot more gruesome injuries. The descriptions of torture and murder are especially vivid. It was a graphically violent book, with a lot of striking imagery.
Most of the characters were very charismatic, even the antagonist, Lord Loss. It was very easy to root for Grubbs Grady. He was snarky and sarcastic without being too unrealistic. I thought it was important that Darren Shan had Grubbs institutionalized, even though it didn’t really add to the overall plot; it connected the whole story to the real world. The real world connection is what really makes these stories scary. The grisly gore without the connection would mean nothing. This book has the potential to keep people awake at night, because it connects the frightening violence to the real world.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is not squeamish, and is looking for something exciting, but easy. This particular book is not full of deep, societal insights, or any complicated political plots. It is really just about a kid being really awesome and fighting demons. It is a light read, entertaining, amusing, and quite dark. The combination of light banter and sarcasm of the characters with the dark, somewhat disturbing violence creates a really unique mood. When reading it, you feel like screaming and laughing at the same time. Certain concepts of the book are really amusing when they are first mentioned, then alarming when described. It was really well-balanced. It was dark, and scary, and witty and fun to read at the same time.
This book was fast-paced, and funny, even if certain paragraphs cause your stomach to flip. If you are looking for a quick, slightly horrifying, yet entertaining read, Lord Loss is the book for you.
Guest review by Sana