Reader Review: Demon Freaks – J.R.R.R. Hardison

Demon Freaks: ★★

When I initially read the synopsis for the plot of this book, I can definitely say for certain that my attention was grabbed straight away. Therefore, I did have a bias towards the book in the sense that I went in with rather high hopes for the story to follow an interesting and twisting storyline. I was surprised, to say the least. The book did take me off guard in a sense that I was not expecting, but, whether that was a good thing, I’m not so sure. 

The book follows the story of twin brothers Bing and Ron Slaughter as they begin to prepare for their upcoming SAT test. If they don’t get good enough results, their entire college plans are doomed, so they make it their mission to cram as hard as they can to avoid ending up working in McDonald’s like their parents. However, their planned night-before study session doesn’t quite go to plan as they find themselves stuck in a secluded cabin in the middle of a lightning storm. In a twist of fate, the twins, along with their band members, get caught up in a plot to summon a demon and end up facing all types of strangely supernatural issues.

Thinking back through the journey of reading this book, I would definitely say that it was quite the experience. It was a rollercoaster that, at times, made me roll my eyes but also elicited quite a few laughs due to the sheer absurdity of the situations portrayed. 

As soon as I started reading, I picked up on the fact that some of the descriptions were written in a way that was very ‘heavy’ as it were. Some of the situation settings seemed too dramatic and tried to capture the reader’s attention with complicated words to try and build better visualisation, though, instead, this just resulted in the book feeling stunted and being difficult to make sense of at times. This is continuous throughout the rest of the book – the descriptions are indeed immersive and they create good visualisations for the scene settings, though, at some moments, it does feel forced and over the top.

Though, as the book quickly progressed, I was able to pick up on a number of things that I actually did enjoy. I liked the character differences – the reader is introduced to the personalities of the main characters fairly early on in the story, so it’s easy for the audience to get a feel of and a perspective of who the characters really are. You get a good feel for there personalities, which makes the reader feel more involved and immersed as the characters feel more realistic. I like the dynamic that was created between them and the diversity of their traits and the tropes that were appointed to them. I also enjoyed that there were quite a few amusing elements as it made the read easier and made it ‘lighter’ as well – it maintained a specific written tone for a specific audience demographic quite well and it was evident what type of category it was trying to fall into.

The plot and the action don’t take a long time to get into so the pacing has been established well as the reader doesn’t feel themselves getting bored. Due to personal preference, I wasn’t able to get fully immersed into the story because the writing style did put me off at certain points, but that’s more due to my own reading and writing style. I liked that the book did indeed live up to the assumption that the plot was going to follow a silly storyline and wasn’t going to be completely serious, though the book wasn’t one that I’d choose to read again.

As the book continues, I was able to pick out elements that I didn’t enjoy as much. Firstly, some of the characters read like typical teenage stereotypes which reinforces the feeling that they’re just acting like tropes rather than independent cast members. For example, Kaitlyn’s characterisation felt plain and two dimensional because she wasn’t evolved enough. Due to this being persistent throughout the characters and the plot, a lot of the plot points were fairly predictable in the context of the story and, in turn, the plot ‘twists’ weren’t actually all that surprising as the reader is able to see them coming. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I am an older reader and I feel as if this book has definitely been written with a young child audience in mind, so it doesn’t appeal to me in quite the same way.

One of the biggest parts of the book that I didn’t like were the reactions that the characters had towards the situations that they found themselves in. They didn’t actually seem all that concerned and their responses were very unrealistic. This made the book a lot less immersive and, in turn, also made the plot less riveting and less interesting because the characters weren’t directly involved enough in it. It has the result of the plot feeling rushed, which is off-putting.

I also didn’t like the unnecessary mention of love triangles and that of the like – I think the romance sub-plots were completely unneeded and were just thrown into the book to tick another cliche and trip of the list, even though it doesn’t appeal to the audience either. 

The plot weakens as the book continues on – it gets less interesting and just plain weird. It doesn’t completely make sense, though the action does escalate so that works to maintain the reader’s attention. Though, as well as this, I did find myself cringing at some of the situations that the characters found themselves in and the reactions that they were provided did make me roll my eyes more often than not, so there’s definitely a lot that can be developed with the potential of the idea overall.

To put it simply; this book was a wild ride, though it wasn’t a smooth one and it didn’t leave me wanting to experience it again. The plot is silly, and the premise is very interesting in the vaguest sense of the word, though there’s a lot to be improved. The characters have the potential to be developed further and the idea has the opportunity to be expanded because there’s definitely initial depth on the surface, though, personally, the book didn’t appeal to me in the way that I was hoping it would. It made for a light, quick read, but not one that I am thrilled with.

Thanks for reading and I’ll write you later.

If you’re a younger reader who’s a fan of silly, supernatural ideas that will make you laugh, give this book a shot. 

If you just want to experience something completely different than your usual reading experience, then, hey, look into Demon Freaks. It could be the book for you.

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