3 out of 4 stars
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Twin brothers Ron and Bing Slaughter, accompanied by their friends and bandmates Meat and Kaitlyn have a late night cram and jam session before the SATs the next morning. The night starts off normal, but turns into an action-packed thriller. Together they have to fight supernatural beings and a demonic, psychic dagger while trying to stop the evil Golfer’s Association before terrible forces descend upon the earth.
J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison’s Demon Freaks was an interesting read. Hardison takes this young adult book and combines the horror/thriller genre with comedy delightfully. He keeps the reader on the edge of their seat while sprinkling in jokes and witty descriptions throughout the novel.
Although the book is driven more by plot and less by the characters, I still found myself invested in what the four teenagers were going through at each stage of the book. Although genres like these can be predictable and are within this book, Hardison did a great job taking the basis of these genres and adding his own little twists that make the book a unique one.
I usually want deep character development in the books I read and this book gives few details about the characters, but given the pace of the book, I didn't mind. I enjoyed the mini-cliffhangers that left me wondering what might happen to one character while still eager to see the events of other characters. The cliffhangers often gave me a gentle nudge to keep turning the pages instead of putting it down and coming back to it later.
Demon Freaks takes place all in a single night. Given the option to spend a few days before the events in this book to get to know the four teenagers more, I most likely would have been bored. Aside from the events in this book, the twins and their bandmates are just regular teenagers attending high school and going about their normal lives. A few details about each character in the beginning and throughout the book are given, enough to understand the basis of who they are. However, if the events in the book took place over a few days, the reader might have been given a few more details about each character. Out of all the main characters, Kaitlyn was the least developed and for a lot of the book seemed to be the token female character. The psychic dagger had some backstory given to it, but I wanted more. It seemed Hardison wanted to focus on giving descriptions to members of the Golfer’s Association, instead of developing Kaitlyn, the psychic dagger, and some later introduced characters. I didn't mind that Ron often used the phrase “Jesus Christ” as an exclamation throughout the entire book, but some might not like it.
Without giving spoilers for those who are interested in reading this book, the book ends with a few plot holes and questions. There are enough unanswered questions that if Hardison wrote a sequel or even a series following the Slaughter brothers, he could. I enjoyed the style of writing enough that I would love to see their adventures continue.
Overall, I give Demon Freaks a 3 out of 4 stars. It's by no means a perfect book, but I found it an enjoyable read. The limitation of telling a story in a single night restrained some character development and details were left out. Even though there are plot holes and questions left unanswered at the end of the book, it still left me satisfied with the ending. I would recommend the book to anyone who might enjoy Hardison's twist on the thriller/horror and comedy genre.
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