Stephanie's Reviews > Forgiven

Forgiven by Jana Oliver
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Mar 15, 12

Read from March 13 to 14, 2012

ORIGINAL REVIEW POSTED at FANGS, WANDS & FAIRY DUST 3/15/12

I was thrilled and surprised to receive a copy of the third novel in Jana's exciting and moving DEMON TRAPPERS series. In each of the previous entries in the series, my heart was broken for poor Riley Blackthorne who was orphaned, attacked, deflowered and who now stands accused of being one of Lucifer's own. It's definitely a book I would have bought the day it came out. And, it seems there are a lot of releases this month!

I don't "do" books with a religious agenda. And, one of the strengths in Jana's writing is an ability to portray religious topics without promoting a particular religion. While the Church, and Pope, are present it is rare (possibly never) that Christ or the Virgin Mary enters the the story. That's a tough tightrope to walk.

Even with Angels, ("good" and "fallen") archfiends, demons and an Inquisition style group of powerful Church authorities, I never feel proselytized. I'm glad because it is unusual for a YA/Adult crossover book to look at both sex and maturity without becoming a "teaching" moment. And, as much as I read, it is rare that I am as moved as I am with Jana's story about Riley Blackthorne's struggle as the first female apprentice demon-trapper in 2018 Atlanta. Riley's father was killed recently and whose mom died a few years before. She lives in a motel-apartment, has no money, a nasty master-trapper as a boss and the guy her father left to care for her is only a couple of years older than Riley!

Riley is serious, responsible and in many ways much more mature than any teen should be. She puts others before herself. She is handling life on her own, making mistakes and learning from them. She has friends, and a couple of ex-boyfriends. She enjoys normal teenage things like concerts and hanging-out, but she also knows how to trap a demon. Jana's affection for her characters comes through the story. I feel a passion for the story in her writing. Riley isn't the only one growing up; Beck is also getting a lead on his real emotions.

As we learned in my last interview with Jana, the demon-ridden world is based in part to an economic collapse similar to the one currently being faced by the world. Jana seems to see the larger picture of the struggle being good versus evil and a balance of light and dark as the real issues versus one's party or religion. Heaven seems a bit more evil and impotent herein than the Lucifer's minions. Believe it or not, there are things worse than Lucifer waiting to take over the world.!

This is definitely the third in a series, and while some back story is given, FORGIVEN doesn't really stand alone without the first two. Too much happens in this story as a result of or in continuity from the last book. But that's a darn good excuse to read the series if you have not.

I believe Jana's writing has developed even more depth with each novel. All the characters in this volume mature, come to a realization or ten and it vibrates with action and energy. Riley is genuine throughout as a heroine and as a young woman struggling with strength, and dignity in a world that seems determined to crush her.

Jana does not disappoint, nor is the storyline tired. There are new elements here and we feel a little more comfortable about Riley's future by the end. Challenges remain, for both Riley and the world. The next volume (untitled at this time and possibly out in the Fall of 2012) in the series will bring new challenges for Riley, Beck and the rest of the world.

If you have someone reading paranormal YA/Adult crossover this is a Must Read, as it is if you have read the first two in the series. If you know a teen who thinks she has it rough this series might make her think again.
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