Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beautiful Demons by Sarra Cannon

Title: Beautiful Demons
Series: Peachville High Demons
Author: Sarra Cannon
Length: 2327 Kindle Units
Rating: 4.5 stars

The Plot

Strange things have happened around Harper for as long as she can remember. When she gets upset, objects fly around the room. This unusual occurrence has gotten her kicked out of more foster homes than she can count, and her case worker says that this is her last chance. If she can’t make it work at Shadowford Home, then she will have to go to a juvenile detention center.

Harper doesn’t know quite what to make of the small town of Peachville. But even she can tell that the town’s obsession with high school athletics, especially cheerleading, is well above the norm. But as she learns more about the town and the powers possessed by those in it, she realizes that finding out the truth behind Peachville’s secrets might mean finding out about her own strange powers as well.

The Good

When I tell you that this is a book about demon cheerleaders, you know that means it can either go one of two ways – really bad or really good. Fortunately, Beautiful Demons is the latter. I got really caught up in the story and was on the edge of my seat wondering whether Harper would get to be on the cheerleading squad. We don’t get all of the mythology explained in the first book, but what we do get is unique and enticing and definitely makes a reader want more.

I really love the way the chapters are titled in this novel. There are many short chapters, and each of them is titled after a partial quote from the text. This allows the reader to sort-of predict what will happen in each chapter, but often the words are used in an unexpected way.

The Bad

Memory and first person narrative can be a tricky thing. I once had someone tell me that describing something, only to have the narrator forget it, is not allowed. But I think that most of us can recall at least a time or two where we have seen this device used, though we may have wished to forbid it. For plot-relevant reasons, Harper forgets some of what happens to her in the first half of the book. The series of events that causes this to occur is somewhat confusing. I couldn’t tell whether she was sick or dreaming or hallucinating or some combination of all three. I had to go back and reread that section a couple of times. And then I was confused about what she did and did not remember, though I did eventually figure it out.

The Romance

Shortly after Harper moves to Peachville, she finds herself drawn to two boys: rebellious Jackson, who she is warned away from, and Drake, who “only dates cheerleaders.” Harper’s feelings toward them mirror her attitude toward the town as a whole. Going by her own instincts, she is attracted to Jackson, but these instincts have led her to reside at a home for troubled girls. Drake, on the other hand, is the right kind of boyfriend for a girl with the life she wants to have as a popular girl on the cheerleading team.

Seriously, though, Jackson Hunt is totally swoon-worthy, in spite of sometimes also being inexplicably shirtless.

Will I read more?

I am totally addicted to this series. I read the first four books straight through and can’t wait til Rival Demons comes out in January.  As I was looking back over the book to write this review, there were parts that I wanted to read again, which prompted me to reread parts of the later books as well. This is definitely a series that I will be going back to reread when I want something great that just makes me smile.

The main reason that I don’t give the series five stars is to do with the length. I have said that five stars means that I would pay full bookstore price for the books, but I really can’t justify doing that for a book this short. But I have absolutely no qualms about paying self-published price for it. In fact, I fully recommend it!


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