Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide by William Hussey

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Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide by William Hussey

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Straight up horror in the highly enjoyable first volume of this much-heralded trilogy. Fans of all things demonic will absolutely love it - there's a geeky hero, plenty of gore, witches, a pretty girl, and even a werewolf. And the cover art is superb.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: March 2010
Publisher: OUP
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0192731904

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Jake is a rather solitary person. He's bright but bored by school and he's obsessed with horror comics. He owns an amazing collection and he knows all the stories and myths and folklores off by heart. Little does he realise that everything he reads about is real, and the Demontide is almost upon him.

Hundreds of years ago, the Witchfinder closed the gate through which the demons were about to pour and saved the world. But once in every generation, it's at risk again, and the fragile barrier at Holbarron's Hollow becomes vulnerable. The Coven spend time preparing for the rule of the demons, while the Elders work for the protection of humankind. But the Elders are in danger this Demontide. They have allowed the end to justify the means and this corruption puts the entire world in danger, but Jake in the most danger of all...

I rather liked Dawn of the Demontide - and I can see why OUP think it has enough about it for it to rise to the top in this rather overheated teen horror genre. It's very old school, so you won't find much in the way of gadgetry and impossibly rich vampires and other assorted evil beings socialising in unsuspecting London circles as you do, for example in The Liberators or Changeling. What you will get, though, is lots and lots and lots of absolutely visceral gore, some unspeakably dreadful demons and a good dollop of magic, both white and dark. Two of the main characters even take their names from Bram Stoker's Dracula.

It begins with a human sacrifice and it's a real barnstormer of an opening chapter - frightening, ruthless and gruesome. From then on, the writing is smart and enticing, the pace is quick and snappy, and the plot has more twists and turns than you could shake a stick at. Jake is the perfect reluctant hero and - without ruining things with spoilers - he turns out to have a truth about him that is without doubt the nugget of true originality that will raise this trilogy above the norm, cleverly bringing the old school style bang up to date.

Thoroughly recommended - with some half-hearted caveats about gore for the youngest of readers (but they like gore, so they're very half-hearted).

My thanks to the good people at OUP for sending the book.

If they love all things demonic, they really shouldn't miss Darren Shan's Demonata series. I think they might also enjoy Scared To Death by Alan Gibbons. If the idea of the Witchfinder intrigues them, perhaps they might like to read about real and historical persecution in The Witching Hour by Elizabeth Laird.

Buy Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide by William Hussey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide by William Hussey at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide by William Hussey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide by William Hussey at Amazon.com.


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