Friday, 26 June 2009

Book review - The Trouble with Demons by Lisa Shearin

From the back cover:
My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. People hire me when they need something found. I’m not usually the one being sought. But that all changed when I found the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone of unlimited power – and the bane of my existence. Now mages and madmen have me in their sights, not to mention demons...
An opened Hellgate leads to a demon infestation on the Isle of Mid, and while there’s never an ideal time to face down demon hordes, it’s hard to imagine a worse one. Already fighting the influence of the Saghred, Raine discovers she is also magically bonded to a dark mage and a white knight, two dangerous and powerful men on opposing sides – and Raine’s stuck in the middle.

This is the third in the Raine Benares series and I strongly suggest that you read them in order. Like its two prequels, The Trouble With Demons packs a huge amount of plot and action between its covers. For those new to Raine Benares world, she’s an elf detective with a contemporary voice, living in a world with elves, humans and goblins (who by the way are gorgeous). She’s trouble-prone and she’s the niece and cousin of two of the most notorious pirates in the land. The writing is fast, action-packed and witty. In short, it’s impossible to assign a genre to the book. It has a little bit of almost everything. Which means that they could probably be enjoyed by almost everyone.

One of what I’ve come to recognise as Shearin’s trademarks is a large cast of characters all with complex relationships and motivations. All my favourite characters are back and in terms of the love triangle, I see Raine begin to lean in a very definite direction. The action moved very fast, keeping my attention riveted, though perhaps at times it was a bit too fast. Raine is propelled from trouble to trouble with very little breathing time. I didn’t have too much trouble following the plot, but a few quiet scenes where the characters think about the problems would have let me appreciate them properly. Instead I found the pace so quick that a life-threatening incident would pass me by almost before I even registered it. This matters less because it is the third book – I’ve had time to get to know the characters, so do care what happens to them.

I’ve really enjoyed the whole series so far and would recommend it. I do find that there are small things that annoy me, but in fairness I think they annoy me because I enjoy the series so much. As I mentioned in my review of Armed and Magical, one of these things is the representation of 18 year old Piaras. This improves in The Trouble with Demons, though I still think he’s treated as someone younger than eighteen. My other main irritation is the tendency for small phrases to be repeated. I get the impression the author gets fond of some small line of descriptions because from book to book the same line will be used. These lines were witty the first time, but when repeated word-for-word in the next book I feel slightly cheated. They’re not too common, maybe a couple per book, so most people probably won’t even notice them.

As I said above, I’m often extra critical of books I really enjoyed. I probably go into too much detail over the small things, but I guess in a way that shows how much I enjoyed the book. If the only problems I have with it are small then it was almost perfect to me. Technically the whole series is Adult rather than Young Adult, but I don’t think it’s at all inappropriate for younger teens. A highly recommended continuation to a fun series.
(As far as I'm aware, they're not yet being published outside of the US but you can get them from Amazon UK)


  1. Awesome review, Hannah! I absolutely LOVE the Raine Benares series! It's just so awesome and so exciting! And you've got to love... well, everyone! :D Great review!

    I reviewed this book too, so I will link to yours from mine.

  2. Great review!
    See, that's why I enjoy book blogging: I discover all those amazing books I wouldn't have otherwise! I'll put the series on my list of books to read :)

  3. This sounds like a wicked series! I have never read any of Lisa Shearin's books but I think I should start :)

    Great review!

  4. I think this series doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. Go read it and let me know what you think!

  5. This sounds really great! I really like the repetition of those sorts of small phrases for some reason (continuity?) ^_^