Saturday, August 11, 2012

Early Review: The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer

Book: The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer
Genre:  Young Adult / Paranormal
Available Formats: Ebook | Hardcover
Publication Date: August 28th by EgmontUSA
Version Reviewed: Ebook
Where Did I Get This Book: Netgalley

First Sentence: "
I used to be the kind of girl who would check under the bed and in the closet every night before going to sleep."
Mia's ordinary life is disrupted in the most horrifying way possible when she is possessed by a hungry and powerful demon--and only saved by the arrival of relatives from Italy, the country her grandfather fled many decades ago. Now her cousins Emilio and Giuliano say the only way to keep her safe is for her to come back with them to Milan, to live, to learn Italian, to fall in and out of love, and to master the family trade: fighting all demons with the lore of bell, book, and candle. Milan is not what Mia expected, but it will change her forever, in this stunningly well-written novel about an American girl who, fleeing an ancient evil, finds her only salvation in her ancestral home.

The Demon Catchers of Milan has all the potential in the world; a haunting and thrilling premise set within the beautiful and exciting city of Milan. I had high hopes for this book, I love the idea of a demon catching family and who doesn't want to read about Italy? Unfortunately, this story fell flat for me. 

First of all, Beyer had a very unique writing style that I never really got used to. This may sound like a funny comparison, but it reminded me a bit of Yoda. She constructs sentences in an unusal way that made it difficult to understand. Here are a few examples:
"They knock to get out, my bones."
"I told them all I could; I couldn't help leaving out some details, like the way he looked at me."
"He looked both older, because he did not look like a god, and younger, because he sat still, relaxed, open."

To put it mildy, The Demon Catchers of Milan confused the heck out of me. I understood what was happening in the moment, but not how everything fit together. Does that make sense? I could understand what was going on; the family was going out to eat, or Mia was studying history, but I did not get the overall picture. I'm not sure if this was because of the galley edition, but I found that the transitions between scenes and even conversations were difficult for me to follow. Of course it didn't help that the whole demon thing was never really explained. 

You see our protagonist is thrust into this strange family business when she becomes possessed by a demon. She has never met the family that she moves to Milan with and certainly doesn't know the first thing about demons or demon catching. And unfortunately for Mia (and us) the family won't explain anything to her because they fear the demon that is gunning for her will learn their secret demon catching techniques. Mia never really bothers asking questions and when she does she is basically told, "figure it out for yourself". I don't know about you, but if I had a demon on my tail I would be demanding some answers. So long story short, Mia spends the entire book bumbling around the dark trying to make sense of everything. She apparently is able to sort some things out but I never really did. At the end of the book I was left with more questions than ever.

I also found the extensive family hard to sort out. I am sure it would have helped if I spoke Italian but I was constantly confusing Nonno and Nonna, Francesco and Francesca and of course all the Signora's. I don't think this would have been such a big problem for me if I wasn't already extremely lost.

The Demon Catchers of Milan felt more like a prequel than a stand-alone or series - I am assuming there is going to be a sequel because literally not a single question was answered. I say a prequel because it feels like something I would go back and read once I've already been introduced to the world and characters of the story. But, that is obviously not the case. As it is, I was completely and utterly lost and a little bored with the story.

Favorite Quotes:
The word I used - "afraid", timoroso, was too small to do the job it had to, and I felt the same way.
"In this country, you may have noticed, men say foolish things around women quite a lot."
In Francesca's eyes there was a kind of painful understanding; in Signora Negroponte's, a hard look I couldn't read; in Emilio's great sadness; in Giuliano's great judgement.

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