In the first book of his Demon Road Trilogy Derek Landy took us to a darker place than the world of Skulduggery Pleasant. This was a world of demons, serial killers, vampires and witches and set on a completely different continent, America. We met our new heroine, Amber, her mysterious companion/bodyguard Milo, and plenty of other creepy individuals. Derek left us with a sense of foreboding, with a promise that something really bad was coming. Desolation drops you right back into the action.
Reeling from their bloody encounter in New York City at the end of Demon Road, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell – five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master.Amber and Milo’s only hope lies within Desolation Hill – a small town with a big secret; a town with a darkness to it, where evil seeps through the very floorboards. Until, on one night every year, it spills over onto the streets and all hell breaks loose. And that night is coming.
Desolation is a darker, bloodier and more violent follow-up to Demon Road. Throats get ripped out, heads roll, demons get eaten, and there are some incredible fight scenes. Overall I enjoyed this sequel but there were times that I felt the story lagged. It’s a big book that maybe could have been a little shorter to help the story move faster. Unlike the first book, where Amber and Milo were on the run the whole time, the action of Desolation is focused in a strange little town in Alaska called Desolation Hill. Amber is being chased by the Hounds of Hell and she has been told that she will be safe from the Hounds in Desolation Hill. Amber and Milo get to their destination and what they have been told is correct – the Hounds are kept out of Desolation Hill by an invisible barrier. Their main problem now though is that the people of Desolation Hill don’t want them there and try everything to get them to leave. Something weird is going on in this town and it’s up to Amber and Milo to find out what. Things go from bad to worse, and just when you think it can’t get any worse Amber’s family turns up.
There are several strands to the story that all eventually come together. Of course, we follow Amber and Milo, but we also meet Virgil and Javier (two old TV stars who live in Desolation Hill and want to relive their glory days), and Ronnie, Kelly, Linda, Warrick and Two (a group of teens and their do who travel the Dark Highway to fight monsters). Ronnie and the gang travel the Dark Highway in their van and I thought of them as the Scooby Doo gang traveling in the Mystery Machine. You wonder which of these characters are going to make it to the end of the book alive. There are demons everyone so you just don’t know.
I think the one thing I missed while reading Desolation was Derek Landy’s humour. Sure, it’s a dark story and people are being killed left, right and centre, but there is always room for Derek’s humour. There are some funny parts that made me laugh, usually involving bumbling, idiotic serial killers. My favourite part involved the interactions of four serial killers when they had trapped Ronnie and the gang.
Although I didn’t enjoy Desolation as much as Demon Road I’m still looking forward to finding out how it all ends. The end of Desolation leaves you with plenty of questions which I need to know the answers to. The final book in the trilogy, American Monsters, is released on 25 August.