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The Demon Hunt: A Dark Storm Novel by Kris Greene
Review by Drew Bittner
St. Martin's Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312944230
Date: 03 August 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Gabriel Redfeather and his new found allies barely survived a battle against a goblin horde. Now, battered and on the run, they face a host of new dangers. Unless Gabriel can master the power of the Trident with which he's bonded, their life expectancy might be very short indeed.

This is the situation in The Demon Hunt by Kris Greene. Following on the heels of The Dark Storm, wherein Gabriel was a hapless college student thrown into an ancient war against evil, the new novel starts with the aftermath of a brutal fight.

Gabriel's friends, including the hammer-wielding Morgan, the mystic Asha and her monkey familiar, the gunslinging Rogue, the leader Jackson, and De Mona, the half-demoness who got Gabriel into this mess, take refuge with an enigmatic fellow named Jonas and begin to plan their next move. For Gabriel, that means finding his missing grandfather. For the others, it means striking a blow against the enemy--led by Titus, who has tremendous magical and mundane power at his command--before they are eliminated.

Gabriel's grandfather and a young witch named Lucy are indeed in trouble, having been captured by the goblins. With the help of an unlikely ally, they make an escape, wending their way through the tunnels under New York City's Bronx Zoo. If they can get free, they might be able to fight the goblins from an unexpected direction.

Meanwhile, Asha's boss Dutch, King of the Black Court of wizards, has put out an order to kill Asha and claim the Trident--no matter what. Asha's closest friends are tasked with carrying out his command, which will get them into a very difficult situation.

With the various factions converging, and a possible war that would pit the hidden supernatural races against an oblivious mankind, Gabriel doesn't have much time to master the Trident's power or forge an understanding with the ghost who inhabits the weapon. But he'd better work fast, because time is running out, and one of the team's own allies has been turned against them...

Greene has created a fast-paced and entertaining read and a worthy sequel all in one. Gabriel is a solid protagonist, inexperienced and over his head but shouldering the responsibility Fate has placed on him. He doesn't spout the wisecracks that are all too common to urban fantasy heroes, but is a bit more reflective and thoughtful; then again, he is surrounded by a bunch of characters who more than make up for his restraint.

This is a team of supporting characters that doesn't have issues; it has serious problems. They are at each others' throats early on, as divergent goals pull them apart. Asha hopes to gain Gabriel's trust for her Court, while Jackson wants to harness Gabriel's power against the goblins and Titus. Greene does an effective job of presenting these characters in shorthand, revealing their true allegiances subtly and slowly, with some surprises given where they seemed to be in the first novel.

As far as the villains go, the major on-screen adversary is Prince Orden, a goblin who intends to make war on humanity. He has goals--and reasons for pursuing them--that makes him more than a plot device; even so, his plans are secondary to those of Titus, who has a scheme of his own--one that revolves around getting his hand on Gabriel's Trident.

The action is fast and furious, but character is (happily) not sacrificed along the way. The Demon Hunt should appeal to readers of urban fantasy looking for something a little different, which also seems to have legs for ongoing storytelling.

Recommended.

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