AGERANGE: Ages 12 up.
In the fifth book of "The Demonata" series, gruesome nightmares plague teen Grubbs Grady. These dreams feature distorted scenes of demons murdering his family and massacring an entire movie set, both of which he witnessed. As he processes these past events, Grubbs also struggles with the possibility that, like his sister, he may be a werewolf. The development of strange magical abilities, the discovery of a secret tunnel into the demonic world, and the death of his best friend force Grubbs to seek out the help of both his uncle and Juni Swan, a strange friend from the past who suddenly reappears in his life. Overwhelmed and stressed, Grubbs does not know who to trust in his battle to stay human and away from the demonic world he previously encountered. While the plot is entertaining for fans of the series, Grubbs' voice seems too adult and old-fashioned at times. Clichéd phrases make the writing weak and predictable. Additionally, the choice to end the text in the middle of the climax prevents this book from standing on its own and leaves the reader unsatisfied. Reviewer: Melissa Joy Adams
"The Grubbster" grows up and out with his newly muscled physique and a clique of friends to go with it, but puberty equals the family were-curse, and although he is cool by day, Grubbs is sweating blood bullets by night. Rather than playing the innocent, Grubbs is a realistically flawed character with a huge relate-ability factor. Teens will see themselves when Grubbs fails to include his half-brother Bill-E Spleen in his new social circle that includes the school bully, Loch. Loch makes verbally bashing Bill-E an art form, and Grubbs's half-hearted attempts to defend Bill-E fall flat. The theme, while weak-kneed, comes through-be nice to those at the bottom of the food chain. In his defense, Grubbs suffers from intense night terrors that clearly indicate the presence of the were-curse. He thinks he is changing, and he suspects the Lambs are waiting to take him out at any moment with Uncle Dervish's blessing. When Uncle Dervish convinces Grubbs to lie about a mysterious death, Grubbs is clearly a teenager in angst going through tremendous changes with nowhere to turn. Readers will love the tantalizing hint of a possible connection to the character Bec from installment four of the Demonata series, but they will curse the cliffhanger ending that does more to create new questions than answer old ones in this fifth book. Loyal fans will be stoked for the next episode, but without the traditional sneak peek chapter, the wait will be a painful one. Reviewer: Erin Kilby
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10- Here's another horrific, edge-of-the-seat gore fest that will be in big demand from anyone who has ever whipped through Shan's previous volumes. Grubbs Grady, the protagonist of the first and third novels in this series, returns to learn that he may not have escaped the family curse-the one that turns some of its teenagers into murderous lycanthropes-after all. At first, his life seems to have returned to normal following the horrible deaths of his parents and his sister. He has good friends in school, there's a girl he likes, and he's living comfortably with his magical uncle, Dervish. But he's plagued with nightmares of demons and blood, and when the moon is full, he feels as though there's a beast inside him ready to burst out. Grubbs, his friend Loch, and his half brother Bill-E dig up a spot near Dervish's house where a fabled treasure supposedly lies buried, and the boys soon unearth a cave that seems filled with a frightening power. Once they do, little by little, things get worse. And worse. There are no happy endings here-and that's just what Demonata fans want.-Walter Minkel, New York Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.