Caution: Do not read this review if you haven’t read the previous novels in the series. Review full of spoilers from Book 2.
At the end of Armed and Magical, Raine had been able to solve a some of her problems, but few still remained unsolved. One of those unsolved problem is Sarad Nukpana, who is unrelenting in his efforts of mind manipulation and another is a 1000 year old dead man come back to life-Rudra Muralin, the previous bond servant to the Saghred, who is eager to resume his previous position (eliminating Raine in the process). When a portal to hell is opened on the island, it is easy to guess that Rudra is the mastermind of this deadly game. Rudra’s plan is simple, he makes a deal to accomplish his goals, with the Demon Queen. She has her own interests in the Saghred and some lively plans for it. Raine, therefore, has to save her neck and the Saghred. In the meantime, she also has to capture a mysterious KEY to Saghred’s lock, before anyone else gets to it.
Demon infestation, though not an original idea, is wonderfully portrayed without it being even slightly boring or predictable. I had not expected such an addition to the story.
The previous book had led Raine through events with a pace of a rollercoaster ride. There had been an attempt at Justinius’s execution, everyone suspected Piaras for it, and he almost got sacrificed at the altar of the Saghred(again). The aforementioned incidents had Raine rethinking her decision to stay on the Isle of Mid. However, since she still needed a way to break her connection with the Saghred, she chose to stay on Phaelan’s ship rather than enter the gilded cage again.
Raine’s decision to stay on the ship is peaceful to her mind somewhat, but it cannot keep her away from trouble. This time trouble comes in the form of demons. On a shopping trip, she tries to save a man from dying at the hands of invisible-blue-naked-demons, only for the public to misunderstand her as the murderer. Raine isn’t much bothered though. Being a member of the Benares family, she is well equipped to take it in her stride.The Saghred does not look at the demons as enemies, which means Raine is almost helpless against the danger. When she takes an impossible form of help from Tam to save Talon and Piaras, she realises her problems haven’t even begun yet.
We see Tam, Mychael and Raine bound in a magical bond and we see Raine’s amazement and despair at it, because this bond endangers all three of them. But right now there doesn’t seem to be a way out. And no one has the time to bother. Tam has to find the demon portal and close it, Mychael has to save the residents and students at the Isle, and Raine is too busy trying to counter Rudra’s plan and saving Saghred.
The story has a good beginning. It starts exactly where the previous book had come to an end. The depiction of demons is ludicrous at first and lethal later, to ease the readers into the book. With Phaelan and Vegard at her side, Raine is ever ready to take on trouble, and that is what she inevitably runs into.
The emergence of demons also cause Talon and Piaras to be caught in middle of a battle that is not theirs. Taltek Balmorlan and Carnades Silvanus are eager to intervene and gain control of the situation. But that is not the end of their ambition. We also see Raine protecting Carnades and warning him of danger, but again it is a futile good deed. Especially because he is blind in his hatred and would readily condemn Raine and her friends to execution, given a chance. I honestly think that Raine shouldn’t have bothered. But we are made to understand, she cannot help her conscience anymore than Carnades can help being an evil, pompous idiot.
Sarad’s mind control, exhibited in all its glory to blackmail Raine, forces Raine and Mychael into taking preventive measures. But even those few steps lead to further revelations for Raine (and through her, for the readers).
I picked up this series with all the books in my hand, so I didn’t have to wait a whole year for the next book to come out.Which meant I read the series back to back. So one thing was annoyingly clear to me. It was the repetition in the narrative. Raine provides the explanation for the current situations and introduces the characters to us in great details. This explanation was there in the second book as well and I found the repetition irksome in both the books.
The rest of the narrative is good and has the same fast pace that the previous books in the series had. The suspense in the story is good too. The stand which Piaras took against the demons (with someone at his side) at the end is not only depicted well, it is chucklesome, which comes as a nice surprise. The three-way bond between Tam, Raine and Mychael had originally given me a feeling of dread. I expected the things to slide into hot and nasty waters then, but things were handled neatly, with no fuss. The ending is good too, though slightly expected yet unforeseeable.
The Trouble With Demons has a lot of unexpected springing on us and a lot of the expected (yet unanticipated) happening before our eyes. Altogether, apart from a few tiny misses, it is a book I thoroughly enjoyed.