I was worried when I picked up ‘American Monsters’, the final novel in the Demon Road trilogy, because it was much smaller than its predecessors and there were a hell of a lot of questions to be answered before Derek Landy could finish Amber’s story. I needn’t have worried, because this was a flawless end to the trilogy.
Landy had put Amber in such a difficult place with the conclusion of ‘Desolation Hill’, and I wasn’t sure he’d be able to pull the resolution off as smoothly as he did. This novel tied up everything so neatly, it was definitely the right way to end Amber’s story arc.
I liked how Landy resolved Amber’s problems, leading up to the final battle with her parents. Some could argue that it was too convenient, but I didn’t particularly mind it as much because Landy’s writing is brilliant. I really liked how it wasn’t as easy as Amber thought it would be, and how she had to figure out a way to outsmart them and ultimately come out on top. This is something I’ve loved throughout the entire trilogy – how Landy shows Amber’s vulnerability. No matter how many fights she gets herself into, she still suffers from her wounds. It makes her so much more believable as a character.
Landy’s dialogue is absolutely fantastic – it’s so witty and brilliant that it really makes his characters. Especially considering these novels are a lot darker than the Skulduggery Pleasant novels, these were arguably in need of more humour to lighten the mood.
I really liked how Landy tackled Amber’s character on a deeper aspect. The battle of her morality really made this novel – having to do as Astaroth commanded and how it took its toll on her conscience was really well executed. After one plot point in particular, after the In The Dark Places convention, really sticks out. Amber almost gives in to the demon nature and becomes what Astaroth wants her to, but her human morality is still there deep down and pulls her through it. I really liked how Landy showed this internal struggle, especially with Astaroth’s blood.
I looooved Amber and Kelly’s relationship. I really loved how Landy went about showing the reader this – it wasn’t shoved in your face like so many romances are in YA novels, and it felt more natural because of this. Normally the protagonist spends most of the novel mooning over the love interest with the author making a big deal about their romance, but Landy leaves that out and it makes his writing so much better because of it. It was really well done and the ending was so cute.
Other plot resolutions upset me, but that’s a natural part of becoming attached to characters. I loved the return of other characters though, which made up for the loss of others. Not spoiling it is so painful but once you’ve read the novel you’ll know exactly which ones I’m talking about!
Without giving spoilers and detailing exactly how I thought this novel was a brilliant wrap up for the trilogy, I can only say that it is definitely worth a read and I give it a very worthy 5/5 because Derek Landy is just brilliant and I cannot tell you how excited I am to read the new Skulduggery Pleasant book next year.