Friday, August 24, 2012

Me on The Demon Catchers of Milan

Title: The Demon Catchers of Milan
Author: Kat Beyer
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Egmont

Mia's ordinary life is disrupted in the worst way possible when she's suddenly possessed by a powerful and dangerous demon, only to be saved by distant relatives from Italy. Now her cousins say the only way to keep her safe is to take her back to Milan, to live and to learn Italian, and to master the family trade: fighting all kinds of demons with bells, books, and candles. Milan is not what Mia expected to find, but it will change her forever, her ancestral home the only place she can find salvation.

The Demon Catchers of Milan is mysterious and feels old world, the cultured setting of Milan adding depth to the atmosphere. It features a different take on demons, ones who possess innocent people and are exorcised through tradition passed down through generations, and while it was well-paced with good tense moments, there wasn't a lot of action.

The beginning was interesting enough, a glimpse into Mia's life in Milan, but then it went back in time to her possession in her home in the US, back before she ended up in Milan. My hopes that it was just a brief flashback sunk when it continued. While it did provide backstory and set up Mia's character, as well as those around her, I wasn't that interested, and I was never sure when that initial moment in Milan actually occurred.

It is a unique twist on demons and possessions, on spirits and exorcisms. Not necessarily heavy on religion but more on tradition, more on history and ability, the ability to free the sufferers and trap the demons, to see the messengers and go where they are needed. The demons mixed with Milan's historical setting and the rich Italian history made the book fresh and interesting in that sense.

Unfortunately, there were moments when Mia wasn't working out as the main character for me. Even though she understands why she has to go to Milan, understands (in some way) why the Della Torre family do what they do, she whined too much at times for my liking. She didn't know how to speak Italian, didn't know how to read it, didn't know any history, didn't know how to defend herself after the possession, but when she was told what she had to do, she complained about all the studying. I do understand that it's part of the teenage mentality, rejecting massive amounts of dry and boring texts that have been pushed on you to study, but still, she was a bit of a whiner until she figured some things out. And it wasn't all her fault, the family purposely kept her in the dark, waiting until she figured it out on her own, and kept her in the house.

It wasn't until the ending that I realized that this book is clearly the beginning of a series. Once I got to the ending, everything before felt a little like a set up, like Mia first had to come to terms with her possession, with being in Milan, with being a demon catcher and all it entailed.

This book reminded me very much of Flirting in Italian, both with the Italian setting and culture and the way the story flowed into a semi-ending kind of ending, an internal resolution ending that's set the reader up for the next book. That being said, I did enjoy this book for its setting and its twists on demons and possession. Maybe not Mia, but perhaps it was just how I saw her that I had issues with. Perhaps, if there is a second book, Mia will be much stronger and take a stand instead of complaining a bit too much.

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