To Hell and Back. An ending worthy of the series.

American Monsters - Derek Landy

Thanks to Harper Collin’s Children and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC copy of this novel that I voluntarily reviewed.

I’ve followed with interest Derek Landy’s series of The Demon Road Trilogy, and the evolution of Amber, the main character. If it’s true that adolescence is a difficult time, try it when your parents are demons planning on eating you when you become sixteen to increase their power, and you’ll see that Amber’s circumstances are extreme, to say the least. Throughout the two previous books, she grows, learns that there are multiple shades of goodness (and even to badness), and discovers many things about herself and her family. She makes deals to save those she cares about, even if that means getting into terrible trouble.

Like the two previous books in the trilogy, this one is also written in the third person but told from Amber’s point of view, and we do get to share in her feelings and deeply hidden thoughts, even those she won’t tell Milo, his faithful (and intriguing) sidekick. If the two previous books are fairly different in their format, with the first one being set as a road trip, and the second as an adventure more self-contained in a fascinating small-town with a very dark side, this one returns to the format of the road trip. Amber has made a deal with the Shining Demon, becoming his Representative, and although her task is fairly disagreeable, she doesn’t embrace the dark side and tries and do the right thing too.

There are memorable episodes and scenes impossible to forget (beware if you love motels, you might not feel safe in one ever again after reading this), a great cast of characters (some we knew from before and we’re happy to see again and some not so much, others brand new), and also tricks, betrayals and sad moments, including the loss of some of the characters we’ve come to care for.  There are fights, mostly with supernatural beings, trips to hell and back (literally), heart-wrenching moments and some lighter ones.

The twists and turns of the plot are intriguing, they keep the action going at a great pace, and there are many surprises. If Amber had never liked herself very much and was despairing of herself and her looks before, now she seems more accepting (the power of love, perhaps), but has another self (a hallucinatory side-effect) that keeps undermining her.  No matter what her demon-self says, she has come a long way from the beginning of her story, has become independent, daring, and has managed to keep her humanity and her sense of morality. She isn’t the only one who has changed and she is instrumental in the changes of those she comes in contact with.

There are sad moments and also very satisfying moments in the book, and there is a reckoning and a resolution at the end, although I won’t give any spoilers. I will miss Amber, Kelly, Milo, even Glen and their adventures  (and the Charger, of course), and I’ll miss the Demon Road, even if I’m not sure I’d like to visit for real.

A great ending to a fabulous trilogy.