CW’s: Violence, Heavy Gore
Reeling from their bloody encounter in New York City, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell – five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master.
Amber and Milo’s only hope lies within Desolation Hill – a small town with a big secret; a town with a darkness to it, where evil seeps through the very floorboards. Until, on one night every year, it spills over onto the streets and all hell breaks loose.
And that night is coming.
Well Desolation was not what I would have expected after reading Demon Road lately and absolutely loving it. The sequel had such a promising potential, but in the end, the book did not feel very well thought out. I have read that Derek Landy had only 6 months for this book and this definitely shows. The pacing is miles off and makes the book drag on, new characters are one-dimensional and overall 3 new POV’s are not tied in very well. I did not hate Desolation, but it definitely is weak. I enjoyed reading it to some extent, but don’t think that I would ever have the will to make it through these 460 tedious pages again. Let’s just hope that the finale is better!
Things I Liked
😈 The concept of Desolation Hill was haunting. This is the focus of the entire story, so instead of going on a Road Trip like in the first book we are staying in Desolation Hill, where all hell is about to break loose. As time goes on we learn more and more about this one night a year where something truly horrible happens and everyone is able to let out their deepest, darkest urges. Originally Amber fled here because there is a barrier through which the hellhounds chasing her cannot pass. Now she also has to deal with the town’s bloody history and keeping the hellhounds from delivering her to the Shining Demon, who is intend on getting revenge. We get to explore the night later on and I have to say that it’s truly horrible seeing everyone turning into demons and fulfilling all their secret urges. It’s a bloodbath and there is also this creepy urn where each year a child is elected to die to start the night.
😈 We got to see some kind of supernatural hunters. I don’t think that any of the characters stood out very much, but I liked the idea of another side existing. Amber is not necessarily on the Demon Road to do good, she mostly looks out for herself and tries to outrun what is after her. Her motif is self-preservation. The Hunters however are traveling along the Demon Road to exterminate ghosts and other supernatural creatures that threaten the human world. They were giving me that Supernatural vibe, with the traveling and trying to save people!
😈 Amber & Milo are a good duo. I still very much love Milo and the relationship he had with Amber, that’s something that is not going to change. We no longer have the Trio with Glen, but we have the two of them. Amber on the run from the hounds of hell and Milo with his Charger, cruising to get to Desolation Hill in an attempt to escape the Shining Demon and his helpers. Now both have very much grown together, as Milo started off being paid by Imelda and now … kind of has adopted Amber involuntarily. I mean you can tell that he cares, even though he has this dry sense of humor, which just makes me like him even more. I still like Amber, even though I wasn’t 100% happy with the emphasis about how beautiful she felt as her slender demon self. Nevertheless, I liked following their story.
😈 I loved Virgil & Javier’s dynamic! At first I didn’t see their relevance to the story, but the more I got to know them, the more I began to love them! Virgil and Javier are two old men that used to be actors in a popular TV Show, before their fame ended. After a very strange incident they have grown apart and harbour negative feelings towards the other. Now – after so many years – they meet again when Virgil experiences something very strange and team up in Desolation Hill. Their dynamic was masterfully done, because I could feel the tension between them. Like I said Virgil and Javier had a pretty bad history, which kept showing, but towards the end when they had to work together, but began to grow closer together again. It was great watching their development over the book and to be honest these two characters were the best ones that were introduced. They made the book infinitely better.
Things I didn’t Like
😈 Glen appeared like maybe 3 times. I was not sure if we would see him again because of how things ended for him last book. Overall I felt like the impact of his situation wasn’t really conveyed last time, it was just dropped and not talked about any longer. However, here we see Amber talking about what happened to him. My main problem was that no one seemed to miss him, despite the adventures they went through. Sure Glen was annoying, but it felt like he was so expendable. I also largely disliked that he randomly turned up 3 times in this book and that was it. Either let him be part of the story, or leave him out completely, not this halfway thing. His appearances literally were disjointed, random and had no connection to the story. They were completely unnecessary, which made me sad because I wanted Glen to be a real part of the story.
😈 The book dragged so much and felt twice as long. This is maybe the main reason, why I did not give Desolation 4 stars. I can say now that I will never ever reread this book, because I don’t think I can make it through all 460 pages again – I don’t have to willpower to. Desolation felt like it was twice as long as the first book, even if it’s shorter. Reading it, I felt like the story was never-ending and went on and on and on. I felt like in the end things got pretty repetitive and dragged on, to a point where I was asking myself when the story would finally reach its climax and come to and end. Seriously, the pacing was so off and made reading this so hard. I noted that the first book felt a bit too long, but this was nothing compared to how absolutely tedious Desolation felt.
😈 The new POV’s were introduced too suddenly and the new characters lacked depth. I had no idea why I should suddenly care about these – for me – random characters that were thrown in pretty early in the story. You see, in the end they tied into the story and everything made sense, but at first I was not happy with these 3 random new POV’s that I did not care about. Nothing alluded to their POV’s, I would have needed a subtle hint to see ‘ah this character is going to be important to the story later’. Instead I was just like … uhm who are these people, what are they doing in the story and why should I even bother with them? It was not very well done. To be honest I didn’t care about Austin’s POV at all, not even later, as I didn’t think he had much depth. The hunter group was interesting as a collective, but not individuals. The characters were one-dimensional and I could not tell you what they are like, because I don’t know myself. They felt like props for the story.
😈 The relationship between Amber & Kelly was very dubious. At first I was excited to see a f/f pair, because we don’t get to see that nearly enough in YA. But I was not really happy with their relationship for multiple reasons. One was that Kelly is at least 3 years older than Amber, who is a minor as she is 16. That didn’t really sit well with me. It does not help that Kelly is a very experienced and out as a Lesbian, while Amber has not explored her sexuality at all and is rather shy. Kelly would remark upon how unprofessional she was acting, but then kissed Amber anyways … which does not seem healthy to me. I don’t really think that Kelly was respecting Amber and how new this was for her very well. Apart from that their relationship has no meaningful buildup which I found very disappointing. They meet and then suddenly get all steamy with each other.
IN CONCLUSION: Overall I felt like the “magic” of the first book was gone and Desolation was rather wonky. We did not have a road trip, we didn’t have Glen and we had other things that didn’t stand out: flat characters, a story that dragged on and so much gore. Seriously the violence and gore is twice as bad. The feel I had while reading Demon Road (I kept thinking about it afterwards and even raised my rating) was completely done.
Have you read Desolation? Did you like it as a sequel? 😈