Middle-Grade Review: Darkness and Demon Song (Marius Grey 2) by M.R. Fournet

 

About This Book:

A cemetery-boy-turned-monster-hunter must race against time to save his recently-resurrected mother in Darkness and Demon Song, M.R. Fournet’s eerie middle grade follow up to Brick Dust and Bones.

Marius Grey’s mom is back from the dead. After hunting monsters and performing forbidden spells, Marius is just happy she’s there, helping him to take care of their Louisiana cemetery again.

But it soon becomes clear that something has gone wrong. Marius’s mother is growing more distant and strange things start happening around her. Worse yet, sometimes it feels like she’s a completely different person–one who definitely isn’t his mom.

If Marius wants to save her, he’s going to need help. Serious help. Good thing he has a flesh-eating mermaid for a best friend and a classmate with extra strong magic. Add in mysterious clues for new hunts, graveyard hopping from Louisiana to Texas, and a tough ex-hunter he doesn’t know if he can trust, and it’s clear that Marius has his work cut out for him.

*Review Contributed By Karen Yingling, Staff Reviewer*

Monster hunters… monster friends

In this sequel to Brick Dust and Bones, Marius has managed to bring his mother, Kelly, back from the dead. He continues to go to Madame Millet’s school, where he has met the enigmatic Lynna, and also hunts monsters, selling them to Papa Harold. His flesh-eating mermaid friend, Rhiannon, still helps support him. When Marius stops by a local restaurant, the Old Coffee Pot, with his mother and Lynna, he manages to free some ghost hunters who are being possessed by spirits, but his mother becomes violently ill. Something is not quite right, and he tries to find out. He seeks the help of a retired demon hunter, Creecher, who sends him on a mission to find out how good he is, and then tells him that his mother is possessed by a demon. He consults Papa Harold, who says that if Marius can capture the Honey Island Swamp monster, he’ll help with information so Marius can exorcise his mother. The monster is actually protecting owls on Honey Island, so Marius doesn’t capture him. Now, he needs other help to rid his mother of the demon. With the help of Madame Millet, Mama Roux, and Creecher, will he be able to locate part of his mother’s soul in Hell and reunite her with it? While this book could conclude Marius’ story, there is a bit of demon song wafting through the air at the end that could lead to yet another tale.
Good Points

Marius’ relationship with Rhiannon has something of the feel of Tom’s relationship with Alice in The Revenge of the Witch, which is not black and white, and therefore very interesting. How can you be friends with someone you are supposed to think is a monster? The New Orleans setting, with the super creepy paranormal creatures (children with solid black eyes infesting a movie theater!), is great, and the plot moves along very quickly. I KNEW that bringing Marius’ mother back from the dead would have some negative ramifications, but I liked How Marius was determined to solve the problem, had a support network he could ask for help, and did everything in his power to put things right.

I wasn’t quite sure where Marius and his mother were living. I think they were still in the graveyard, living in a mausoleum, which seemed odd. Of course, she wasn’t really in any condition to hold a job and rent an apartment, so that makes some sense. The details in the first book of their living arrangements was interesting, so I would have liked to know more. I was also hoping that Marius’ life would return to normal so that he was even more invested to work to keep his mother.

I enjoyed this one, and it’s not often we see a middle grade horror SERIES. I’d love to see Fournet write some stand alones with the same setting, but with different monster hunters. Readers who enjoyed Baptiste’s Jumbies series or Royce’s Conjure Island will be glad to be able to travel back to New Orleans.

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