The author of the popular Cirque du Freak books launches another no less gruesome series with this first installment in the Demonata books. Readers meet teen narrator Grubitsch Grady ("Grubbs") in a bad spot-he's in the principal's office, caught smoking cigarettes-but things are about to get far worse. Grubbs seeks revenge against the informant, his sister, Gretelda, by smearing her bath towels with rat guts. He feels guilty about this when, just a few pages later, Gretelda, Mom and Dad are killed in appalling fashion by Lord Loss, a "demon master," and his grotesque familiars-Vein and Artery. Grubbs is sole witness to his family's execution and his narrow escape, by means he doesn't quite understand himself, nearly drives him mad. He goes to live with insensitive Uncle Dervish, who regales his newly orphaned nephew with stories about the "long and bloody history" of the house that Grubbs will now call home. Written mainly in sentence fragments with an excess of exclamation points, the narrative is a mish-mash of occult motifs. Halfway through the story, werewolves make an appearance. It's tough to take any of this seriously: the cartoonish villain stages high-stakes showdowns that mix slasher flick-style battles with chess matches. The author introduces threads about rare books and a missing treasure, then drops them, presumably to pick them up in the following volume, due out next year. Ages 15-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Grubitsch "Grubbs" Grady's life changes in one moment. Grubbs starts out as a normal kid who gets punished for a playing a cruel joke on his sisterhe put dead rat guts on her bath-towel. Then, abnormally, the Grady parents and sister forgive Grubbs and send him to stay the night with an aunt. In an act of determined curiosity, Grubbs heads off to spy on his family, only to find demons murdering all three of them. Each gory description tempts readers to prove that this deliciously gruesome tale is for the stout of heartor those reluctant teens that think they are. With a tale filled with everything from murder to werewolves, readers will race through each page to find a conclusion, if not to satisfy their own curiosity. Unfortunately, the text screams horror and suspense while the author hurries through the climax, resulting in a serious lack of consistency in the grotesque elements and action. However, Shan's book will intrigue horror fans while attracting those looking for a good scare. 2005, Little Brown and Company, Ages 14 to 18.
The popularity of Shan's Cirque du Freak series guarantees an audience for this creepy horror story, first in a new series. "I've seen demons rip my world to pieces," teenager Grubbs Grady wails, and he means it literallyhis parents and sister are torn apart by terrible creatures from another dimension, and he barely escapes with his life. No one will believe his story and he ends up in an institution, lost to grief and fear, until his Uncle Dervish appears. Dervish believes Grubbs's tale and takes Grubbs to live with him in his huge stone house in the English countryside, where he reveals to him more about Lord Loss, the demon master who feeds on human suffering. He also tells Grubbs about the family cursea werewolf gene runs in the clan. When Grubbs's teenage relative and close friend Billy starts to turn into a werewolf, Dervish and Grubbs must take on Lord Loss and his terrible minions in a chess battle of life and death. The secret weapon of teens everywhere, sullen indifference, is the key to winning, Grubbs discovers. Short, staccato sentences and the use of the present tense help raise the tension level in this supernatural page-turner. Lots of gore, including dismemberment, and the descriptions of the nightmarish demons make this appropriate only for those with strong stomachsit's gross as well as engrossing. The cover, with a close-up of a menacing hand and a boy in the background with his hand to his throat, conveys the novel's sense of menace nicely. Horror fans will eat this up. A sequel is promised for fall 2006. (Demonata #1). KLIATT Codes: JSRecommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Little, Brown, 240p., Ages 12 to 18.
Gr 7 Up-When sneaky teenaged Grubbs Grady finds himself mysteriously dumped on his aunt's doorstep, he can't help but steal back home to figure out what's going on. Unfortunately, when he arrives, his parents and sister have been horrifically killed in true Shan form: their bodies ripped to shreds by an evil demon named Lord Loss and his vile henchmen. Grubbs somehow manages to escape the fiends and goes to live with his Uncle Dervish, a peculiar dandy who lives in a creepy country mansion whose secrets may hold the key to the murders. Chock-full of family curses, werewolf lore, and stomach-turning gore, Lord Loss is exactly the kind of horror that "Cirque Du Freak" (Little, Brown) fans will love. Characterizations may take a backseat to fast pacing, but this first installment in a new series is still guaranteed to gross out anyone aged 12 to 20.-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Any kid who has teased younger siblings with chants of "greasy, grimy, gopher guts" will feel right at home in this horror tale. Shan, author of the successful Cirque du Freak series, introduces Grubitsch ("Call me Grubbs!") Grady, a youngster who loses his immediate family to gruesome death at the hands of the demon Lord Loss and his two familiars, Vein and Artery. Pushed violently into a macabre world of multiple dimensions, Grubbs must struggle to deal with a new vision of reality and his own potential future trials at the hands of the demon lord. He is helped by his uncle Dervish, a magician, and his new best friend in the village, Bill-E. It is clear that the Grady family suffers from a long-term curse, one that has already struck down Grubbs's parents and sister. Will he be next? Will Dervish? The pace is non-stop, keeping the reader turning pages at a breathtaking rate. Details tend to be graphic and gruesome, and not for the faint of heart. This volume is the first in a new series, The Demonata. (Fantasy. YA)