Derek Landy has to be one of my all time favourite authors. I devoured every Skulduggery Pleasant book as they came out, and naturally the Demon Road trilogy was going to be next. I loved the concept of the first novel, ‘Demon Road‘ – Landy said that he liked the idea of a screwed up parent-child relationship. The parents are naturally meant to protect their children, but what if that didn’t exist between the characters? Just as the third novel has come out, I’ve finished reading the second novel, ‘Desolation‘.
Landy’s humour has always been one of the major things that has pulled me into his novels. His dialogue is absolutely perfect – these novels are so much darker than Skulduggery Pleasant and are definitely aimed at a more mature audience. Yet Landy still managed to use effective humour in his dialogue and descriptive passages to lighten the mood. Parts of this novel and its predecessor had very graphic violent scenes, which we did see shades of in the Skulduggery novels but not to this extent.
‘Desolation’ was brilliant at furthering Amber’s story. Landy launches us straight into the action, and paces the story so well considering its length. I liked the set of new characters, and how Landy developed them to be more rounded rather than generic 2D background characters. Amber’s character development was brilliant! I really really loved the love interest in this novel, and that is solely because you didn’t even know it was going to happen and when it happened you were sat there going “OH MY GOD YES”. THIS is how you do a love interest! There was no in your face lead up to “will they/won’t they” and it was brilliant because despite the fact it happened, Landy doesn’t deviate and make a big deal of the romance – bear in mind this is happening amidst chaos. It was just brilliant because it was a gentle acknowledgment of “yup this just happened” and not spending the rest of the novel talking about how in love with each other they are and how they will fight to be together and blah blah blah that most other YA novels do.
There were some loose plot threads, like Glen’s return as a vampire, but Landy will definitely resolve this in the next novel, ‘American Demons’. Glen only appeared in the background two or three times but this is definitely a lead up to a plot in the next novel. At least I hope so. I hope Landy deals more with Amber’s sense of morality considering what he did with her character at the end of the novel. Seeing as she’s a demon in the first place this makes it quite tricky, but especially the key decision she made at the end of ‘Desolation’. I’ll also be interested to see if the new characters we were introduced to will make a return, or if Landy is leaving it open for them to have their own spin off novel, like ‘Maleficent Seven’.
I really liked ‘Desolation’ – these novels on a whole are a lot darker than his Skulduggery novels, and I like the fact Landy trusts that his audience can cope with some of the darker themes. I’m curious to see how he ends this trilogy and how he finishes Amber’s character arc, but we shall see with ‘American Monsters‘. I’d give it a 4/5.