Digital version – browse, print or download
Receive the latest news & reviews direct to your inbox!
This issue’s cover illustration is from Brian Wildsmith’s The Hare and the Tortoise (© Brian Wildsmith 1966) published by Oxford University Press and re-issued in 2007 (978 0 19 272708 4, £5.99 pbk). Brian Wildsmith’s work is discussed by Joanna Carey in this issue. Thanks to Oxford University Press for their help with this March cover.
The climactic end of Dark Calling, book nine of Shan’s ‘Demonata’ series, saw Lord Loss and Bec forming an alliance whilst a growing unease and mistrust formed a rift between Grubbs and Kernel. This sets the tone for the opening of the series’ finale.
True to form, the book opens with immediacy as Dervish, Grubbs’ uncle, is dying. There’s a sense of poignancy and the intimacy of the cave setting where the scene takes place adds to the scene’s intensity. As Grubbs digs a grave, the atmosphere is brooding, thick with tension and malevolence. A battle between the Demon world that is encroaching further and further into human domains ensues with the full venom and force of Bec and Lord Loss being unleashed. This leads to an action-packed and surprising crescendo.
Alongside the considerable thrills and spills of the narrative, wider issues are given space to gestate – the nature of trust and belief, the corrupting influences that power and control are able to exert. These ethical dilemmas are not always resolved but on the whole, the ‘Demonata’ has been a darker, more complex and sophisticated series than the ‘Saga of Darren Shan’. Relentless and raw, this is a gripping, satisfying conclusion to the series.