Hunted By Demons tells the tragic tale of Phoebe, who’s life is irreversibly changed when a creature from the Darkness inadvertently kills her fiance, Marco. The accident sets off a chain of events that lead to Phoebe fleeing for her life from a band of demons hell-bent on catching her. Under the protection of her literal guardian angels, she tries to stay one step ahead of the monsters — all while very pregnant.
Though the main conflict here is angels vs demons, the story is actually not too steeped in religion. The protagonists and antagonists seem more like cops and robbers than the forces of good and evil. There are only brief mentions of “Him” as the angels refer to their boss; and rather than residing in Hell, the demons refer to their homeland as The Darkness. Angwin does have some pretty interesting concepts at play here, though. There are certain rules which the angels and demons are compelled to follow, lest there be significant cosmic consequences. These rules are explained very clearly, and repeatedly. In fact, there seemed to be a tendency to over explain, which worked against the flow of the narrative at times.
The tone and writing style are closer to YA than to adult horror in my opinion. The characters are rather simple, and although there is some character development, there really isn’t much depth. The dialogue can be hit or miss; with some of it seeming quite realistic and other parts feeling forced. There were a few plot points that just seemed a bit forced as well. Overall, the horror aspects of this book were rather light. There are very few scenes that get bloody or graphic at all. Even the fight scenes between the angels and demons don’t come across as particularly dangerous or brutal. I definitely don’t think that horror has to be violent and graphic, but the story was light on other aspects of horror as well. While the plot was quick and kept things moving, there wasn’t too large of a sense of suspense or dread.
One of the best aspects of this book is that Angwin’s obvious love for history and architecture shine through. While on the run, Phoebe visits some incredible places across Europe, and Angwin does a wonderful job capturing them. There seems to be a lot of real historical information found within these pages. It’s almost as though Angwin took a trip through Italy, and inspired by the beautiful sites she saw, decided to incorporate them into a book.
Overall, Hunted by Demons is a solid read. I enjoyed the characters and the situations that Angwin puts them in. The narrative is creative and fun to read. I do believe that this book falls most squarely into the realm of Young Adult horror. I feel as if that was how it was advertised, I might have enjoyed the book more. However, despite the simplistic nature of the narrative, I did find myself enthralled in the story and quite invested in the characters. If you are looking for a dark, gritty tale of the struggle between good and evil, this doesn’t quite fit the bill. I would recommend this to anyone who doesn’t mind a bit of a YA feel, or who wants some lighter fare as a change of pace. I also think it would be a great way to introduce younger readers into the world of horror literature.