Saturday, August 8, 2015

Demon Squad: The Best of Enemies review


    I've mentioned how much I love the Demon Squad books and this is a series which I intend to continue following until either Tim Marquitz starts writing them or I realize poor Frank is never going to get with his angel cousin Scarlett. For the time being, I'm going to continue to delude myself that such is a possibility. Just kidding, I love the series because it's a great literary comic with lots of humor and action plus great characters.

    Nothing more, nothing else.

    The premise is Frank Trigg is the Devil's nephew, who turns out to have been the Devil's son, and who has recently inherited rulership of Hell from his father. Unfortunately, this has accompanied accidentally killing his long-time girlfriend Karra's father Longinus. Having estranged himself from her just as she becomes pregnant with his child, Frank has sunk into a deep depression which alienates him from his few friends. Returning to series staple of Old Town, Frank decides he's going to take the region back from its current squatters and set up his own little kingdom there.

    Things go pear-shaped from there.

    I've always liked Karra as a romantic interest for Frank but, honestly, prefer his ex-wife Veronica and the aforementioned Scarlett for Frank's love interests. Watching Frank go to pieces over Karra makes me unhappy but I'm hoping they'll just move on to amiable exes. It's a testament to Tim Marquitz's writing skill that, despite not being a romance guy, I'm invested in these characters and their relationships.

    This novel, unlike Beyond the Veil, is primarily a character piece. It's a slower-paced, lower stakes novel which allows us to catch our breath before the next big series of revelations. I appreciated this because poor Frank has been battered from left-to-right in the last few books. Frank's not particularly likable in the book but, after all he's been through, the reader understands why he's lashing out.

    Frank is, as always, the heart of the series appeal. First-person series live and die on their protagonists, Demon Squad being no exception. The snarky, lonely, angry, and badass hero of the book is one which we could spend an endless amount of time with. I'd like to see him get acknowledged as the ruler of Hell and get a chance to sit down with his loved ones to have a conversation about what is going on but, I suspect, that's never going to happen. Too much of the series depends on him alienating everyone around him, which I'm starting to think is at least semi-deliberate on his part.

    The return of characters Veronica, Scarlett, the DRAC organization, and others is all well-done. I, especially, liked the return of Frank's bizarre pet, the zombie-fied head Chatterbox. Frank should carry him around everywhere. I'm not completely pleased with the way Frank treats his friends but, again, it's understandable. I'm especially interested in how Frank and Veronica's relationship develops from here, though, given he's now exactly the sort of super being she's always tried to cozy up to before.

    The final act of the novel contains a twist which I should have seen coming and was telegraphed a long time ago. I love when authors do that. I won't spoil it but while it causes a reverse in Frank's well-earned gains, I immediately bought the next volume after I finished. Readers should be warned The Best of Enemies ends on a cliffhanger, though. I will say, however, it involves the return of a much-loved villain and I hope said villain gets a proper ending this time around. I've really come to hate that guy.

    In conclusion, this is a fun, easy-going, entertaining read which is perfect for longtime fans of the series. Those looking to pick up the series for the first time should probably start elsewhere but it's a treat for those who know just what's at stake.

8.5/10

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