Saturday, April 11, 2015

Demon Squad: Echoes of the Past review

    The Demon Squad series is a Urban Fantasy series following the adventures of the Devil's nephew, Frank "Triggaltheron" Trigg, as he works for the demon hunting organization DRAC. God and the Devil have abandoned the world to humanity, which has triggered an endless series of wars between their remaining servants. I enjoyed the first three books of the series and their over-the-top struggle between demons and angels.

    Echoes of the Past answers a question which I never expected to be answered: "Where are God and the Devil?" Answered in the first chapter is that both God and the Devil have taken to other realities in order to fight some of God's earliest creations. Aliens. They're obscenely powerful and, apparently, have decided they want to mess with the other realities the Lord created. Which appear to be a lot. Frank gets involved when Lucifer contacts him and one of these beings, imprisoned ages ago, gets loose.

    I'm a little sketchy about the unnamed extraterrestrials which are threatening Frank's reality. I thought the series was never more interesting than when it dealt with lower-scale threats like archwizards and demons Frank could fight. People who legitimately terrify the Devil seem to be a bit too large for someone like Frank to deal with. However, I'm actually glad Tim Marquitz has introduced a threat like this.

    With both good and evil people on both sides of the Heaven versus Hell divide, it's nice to have a solid villain for the two sides to unite against. I also like the homage of names with one of the aliens who appears in the book being named Hasstor after the Cthulhu mythos monster Hastur. The aliens don't appear to be alien or incomprehensible but it's a nice way of homaging classic monsters.

    Echoes of the Past spends a good deal of time following up on the plot thread established in At the Gates book regarding Frank's father murdering his mother. We learn more about Frank's childhood in Siberia, his relationship with his father, and what sort of woman his mother was. I'm reminded a great deal of Alucard's relationship to Dracula in the Castlevania series.

    Frank's mother was a formidable woman who managed to serve as an anchor to Hell's royalty. I'd like to know more about her and maybe see some scenes from her perspective. I'm not sure if the books are setting up Frank's father to be alive (and a potential villain) but, either way, it's a dramatic little soap opera I enjoyed reading about.

    This volume also changes the power structure in the setting significantly by removing a major player from the setting and placing our hero in a new role. I can't wait to see Frank deal with the fallout. He's not exactly a very responsible guy so seeing him change and adapt will be quite entertaining. I dislike it when characters remain static but the Demon Squad series has been nicely progressive in both character development as well as shaking up its status quo.

    One thing I'd like to see more of in the book is development of Frank's relationship with the three women in his life: Scarlett, Veronica, and Karra. I love how he reacts differently to each one of them and would love a larger role for all three. I'd also love to see Frank just hang out with each of them for a time as they get less screen time than they really deserve, in my humble opinion.

    Overall, while a transitional book, this is really a very strong entry into the series and I can't think of many flaws.


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