Review: The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski
This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
(Description nicked from Goodreads.com.)
“There is more to our world than meets the eye—darker things, crueler things. Exorcist John Fogg and his wife, psychic medium Theodora Knight, know what lurks in the shadows. But even they’re not prepared for the worst Hell has to offer…
It was supposed to be a simple exorcism, a publicity stunt to firmly establish John and Theodora’s thriving paranormal investigation empire in the public eye. But something went wrong, leading to an on-air massacre that unleashed a malicious host of demons and left Theodora catatonic, possessed by countless spirits.
John sets out on a desperate quest to find a cure for his wife, but his obsession brings him face-to-face with an even more terrifying problem: Theodora’s possession is only one piece of a deadly plot that is threatening the entire world. Because an ancient evil is about to make Earth its battlefield—and without John and Theodora’s intervention, there is no chance for salvation…”
I’m not usually one to read horror novels, but this one sounded as much urban fantasy as creepy stuff, so I gave it a try. Having seen a few ghost hunting shows in the past (although I wasn’t a regular viewer, as I get weirded out way too quickly), I could easily picture the initial premise. The image of an exorcism going horribly wrong on camera is one of those things that is always teased on the TV shows but never actually happens.
As a result, this felt to me like the story of the aftermath of a horror movie. You know that the characters who lived have to deal with what happened, but how often do you see that? In this case, John sets out on a quest to undo the harm done during the exorcism, and we as readers also get to see the damage done to Theodora due to the demons infesting her.
There is some really strong imagery in this book, and for me, that’s what did the heavy lifting of keeping the story moving along. Otherwise, I liked the characters but didn’t feel like I got much of a chance to get to know them. The focus was most definitely on the atmosphere and the setting, and not as much on the people. In addition, some choppy point of view changes had me going back over sections that I’d already read to make sure I knew who I was following.
For me, this book was average: good visuals, okay characters, occasionally sloppy writing, decent story. I don’t know if I’ll pick up the next one or not–I think I’ll have to see if the premise grabs me before making that decision. I’d recommend this book to horror fans wanting to check out the urban fantasy genre, because this could be a good bridge between the two.