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Young Adult Fiction 566
intriguing YA fantasy/horror
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PRACTICAL DEMONOLOGY is an intriguing YA fantasy/horror. In a world where people have taken shelter at castles and must fight against demons whenever they venture out, children have trained with weapons early. Non is from the citadel, and with the plague arriving, the teens are being sent to quarantine in another castle, Cirtop Castle, along with those from other castles. Non has a lot of questions about demons that no one seems able to answer, but she knows what is happening is not as simple as it may seem.

At Cirtop, Non decides to step away from the reserved persona those from the citadel have known of the girl whose mother was taken by the demons, and she finds that her curious mind leads her to investigate what is happening and why. All the while, demons seem to be organizing and working to ruthlessly destroy and infect humanity, the way that they reproduce.

What I loved: This was a really intriguing and unique plot. The demons here leave a lot of questions, and Non is slowly investigating them while also working on survival. Non is an intriguing character with a curious mind that asks good questions. Investigating those questions is challenging, but she is up to the task. She also really seems to come into her own during her stay at Cirtop. Intriguing themes around religion, illness, culture styles, and war add to the story.

Without giving too much away, there are definitely some creepy and horrific scenes that make this a solid fantasy/horror read. It balances the scary with the safety along a fine line that makes this a macabre and enthralling read. Particularly the last third of the book will delight YA horror fans, though the demons remain extremely creepy throughout.

What left me wanting more: There are so many questions that still remain about why the castles sent only their teens to Cirtop (leaving younger children and pretty much all adults behind), why the adults act the ways they do, and also about the demons and the way they developed and act. The latter is also in the realm of questions Non has, and the answers are slow to come. The middle of the book felt like it stalled out a bit with a slower pace, but the ending really picks up on the horror elements and pace.

Final verdict: Overall, PRACTICAL DEMONOLOGY is an intriguing and unique YA fantasy/horror that I would recommend for fans of YEAR OF THE REAPER, ROT & RUIN, and HORRID.
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