Book review

Demon Road by Derek Landy (2015)

Amber Lamont is dead ordinary. Well, she is ordinary. And she might very soon be dead. That’s what her parents have in mind for her anyway. They’re planning to kill her and eat her. It’s all about a deal they made with the Shining Demon, quite a long time ago. Power, strength and eternal life. All that could be theirs in exchange for a simple tribute of a jar of blood. The only problem is, the jar of blood must be spiced with the additional power that comes from eating their own offspring when they turn sixteen.

Shocked? Yes, so is Amber:

‘They were going to eat me? They were going to kill me and eat me? My own frikkin’ parents?’

Did I say Amber was ordinary? She isn’t. That stuff about power, strength and eternal life...looks like Amber inherited some of it from her parents. She can shift whenever she wants to, into a beautiful demon:

And she was beautiful. Her skin, though red, was flawless. Her teeth – pointed now, and sharp like fangs – were white and straight. Her raised cheekbones changed everything. Only her eyes had stayed the same. She was glad about that.
And of course, there were her horns. Black horns, like ribbed ebony, curling out from her forehead and sweeping back. Breathtaking to behold.

It’s all a bit of a plus for Amber who is seriously ordinary to behold most of the time.

Anyway, Amber is being hunted, by six demons actually – her parents and their four friends, all in on the original deal. They aren’t going to stop until they find Amber and eat her. What else can they do? No good can possibly come of breaking their contract with the Shining Demon.

Is there anyone on Amber’s side? Yes actually, and this is where the fun really starts. The enigmatic Milo agrees to help her. Her options are limited. Should she kill her parents before they kill her? Maybe she could summon the Shining Demon herself and make a new deal or at least compromise her parents’ deal...?

Whatever happens, it has to be done on the run. Amber and Milo take to the road in Milo’s 1970 black Dodge Charger. If ever a car had personality, this one does, and it’s dark. And whatever their actual quest may be, they will get there in the end because they’re on the Demon Road now:

‘Guy I knew once called them the blackroads – roads connecting points of darkness, criss-crossing America. Stay on the blackroads and you’ll eventually meet every unholy horror the country has to offer. It’s a network. Some people call it the Dark Highway, or the Demon Road. It’s never the same route twice and there are no maps to guide the way.’
‘Then how do you know we’re on it?’
‘I’ve travelled it before. So has this car. You get the feeling for it.’
Amer looked at him for a quiet moment. ‘Sometimes I think you just make stuff up.’

Can’t promise you’ll sleep soundly in your bed. Can promise you’ll love the book!

What can I read next?

Love this series! It’s a proper blend of monstrous horror, light touch humour and general mischief. You can read it safe in the knowledge that the goodies of course will win out in the end, definitely, maybe...

  • Demon Road
  • Desolation
  • American Monsters

If you enjoy being on the run on the road, perhaps you would like to look at the Lorien Legacies:

  • I Am Number Four
  • The Power of Six
  • The Rise of Nine
  • The Fall of Five
  • The Revenge of Seven
  • The Fate of Ten
  • United As One

Or you might enjoy the brilliant out-of-this-world Railhead series by Philip Reeve:

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