Monday, August 6, 2012

Thrall by Jennifer Quintenz

Title: Thrall
Series: Daughters of Lilith
Author: Jennifer Quintenz
Length: 4230 Kindle units
Rating: 4.5 stars

The Plot

Braedyn is looking forward to an ordinary sixteenth birthday hanging out with her friends and maybe spending some time with the cute boy Lucas who moved in next door. She was not expecting to learn the following three pieces of news from her father: 1. She was adopted. 2. Her father is a hunter of succubus-esque demons known as Lilitu. 3. She is about to become one of the very demons her father fights against. Turns out this birthday might not be as ordinary as she was expecting.

The Good

Thrall was a very good book that brought up a variety of interesting issues about what it means to be a demon on the side of good. The book had a cast of interesting characters, including demon hunters, most of whom had lost someone to a Lilitu and were reluctant to work with a Lilitu at all, even one who had been raised to be on their side. There was also another Lilitu who had been raised by humans but who had chosen to join the side of the demons rather than stay with the hunters. Her perspective was particularly interesting, and I hope that we get to see more of it in the future books.

The Bad

Thrall kind of had me on an emotional roller coaster as I went through it. I took a break after the first few chapters and was feeling thoroughly “Eh” about it. Then I read a bit further that night and got really into it and read a few chapters past my bedtime. Then on night 2 I read another third of the novel, and when I had to come back for night 3, I didn’t want to read anymore. I felt like the world of the book was full of horrible people and that there was absolutely nothing anyone could do to make it better.

There doesn’t seem to be much possibility for a happily ever after in this world. If Braedyn uses her powers, it’s bad because they are evil powers that rely on manipulating people. But she needs to use her powers to fight against other demons, so she’s kind of in one of those catch-22 situations that even a deus ex machine can’t cure. And that makes me sad.

Anyway, once again I must say that “emotionally powerful” is not really a flaw, but it did make me hesitant to read more at certain points, so I’m putting it under the bad.

The Romance

Okay, this is the real section where the book loses the half a star. I didn’t really buy the relationship between Braedyn and Lucas. I mean, they know each other for about two days before he tells her that he likes her. She says she doesn’t feel the same, so they stop spending time together. This is all totally logical. Except that, even though they spend none of their time together, they can’t get over their feelings for one another. And I just can’t help but think that if you only know a girl for two days, and she doesn’t want to go out with you, don’t you get over that? Especially when you’re at a brand new school and have girls throwing themselves at you? I feel like you would. Three day rule, people. Irrevocably in love with a girl who doesn’t want to give you the time of day? Not buying it.

In fairness, for the structure of the story, I see why it had to be done this way. I just felt it lacked verisimilitude.

Will I read more?

Emotional upheavals aside, Thrall was a good read, and I suspect that there is more to be developed in future books. I am interested to see more about the Lilitu. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of an attempt to make them in some way sympathetic so that Braedyn would be at least a little tempted to join the other side, just to make the story a bit more interesting. But it was plenty interesting on its own, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the series goes.

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