Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Demon Squad: Resurrection review


    Armageddon Bound was a fun little novel, giving us a new urban fantasy series with a Judeo-Christian mythology theme. God and the Devil have made peace, leaving the universe to humanity and their former servitors high and dry. The chosen candidate for the Anti-Christ, Frank "Triggaltheron" Trigg, is happy about this change and has devoted himself to the human monster-hunting organization DRAC in protect the world from the now-unnecessary Armageddon.

    The premise is Frank, after a disastrous attempt to hire a prostitute ends with him fighting zombies (possibly the best sentence ever to intrigue someone into reading a book), investigates a number of bodies disappearing from the local cemetery. This ties into a larger plot by an unknown third party to resurrect Longinus the Roman soldier who killed Christ.

    In this world, Longinus was the first of several Anti-Christs, who serve as Hell's chief enforcers. Given the peace between angels and demons is barely holding as is, Frank is less than pleased at the possibility of a new major player on the board. The issue is further complicated by the return of an old girlfriend of Frank's who he still has strong feelings for. Can he sort out all these problems or will things get worse before they never get better? Oh and what does a barely intelligible beat-boxing zombie have to do with it? I'm kidding about the beat-boxing.

    Or am I?

    Resurrection is a step-down in stakes after the apocalyptic adventures of Armageddon Bound. This isn't a bad thing as you can't do that every week without diluting some of the effectiveness. The addition of Longinus, however, prevents it from being too much of a change. Frank's teeth-clenched teamwork with evil wizard McConnel from the first book is quite entertaining and I would have been interested in seeing those two bicker for much of the story.
   
    The addition of the character Karra seemed a trifle unnecessary, though. She's yet another half-demon action girl who Frank has a prior relationship with. Given Veronica, Frank's ex-wife who fits those same criteria, is in the book then I think it might have been better just to use her instead. Still, the law of character conservation aside, I liked the character and can never complain too much about additional butt-kicking women in fiction.

    Tim Marquitz deserves credit for continuing to flesh-out the complicated romantic, familial, and personal ties existing between Heaven and Hell. You get a real feeling these people all know each other intimately, enemies or not, and everyone has a lengthy history between them. It adds a personal touch to things and makes every encounter where someone dies forever to be all that much more shocking to these largely-static beings.
   
    I feel the character of Lilith was underused this book but also have to give props Tim for going in an unexpected direction with her. I also liked how he illustrated Baalth's power at one point, showing what sort of devastation the demon lord was capable of and why he wasn't actually a decent person underneath his polite facade.

    Frank, as always, is hilarious and I see no likelihood of that changing anytime soon. I like the twists and turns in this story as it has anything but a straight-forward narrative. Frank would like to stop the resurrection of Longinus but he doesn't really care enough about his employers to go all out for it. He's also willing to be bribed in order to let it happen and re-bribed in order to stop it. It's rare we see a character ambivalent about his job and very much not-so about his payment. It makes the way things finally go down genuinely surprising as Frank knows everyone is scum but someone has to win (so it might as well be him).

    Most of the mistakes from the earlier volume are absent here and I have no doubt they will continue to get less and less as the series progresses. You can feel Tim Marquitz's style evolving and improving, which isn't a bad thing since he begins pretty damn good.

8.5/10

Buy at Amazon.com

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