Verdict: DEMONS is a fun blend of young adult romance and Norse mythology with strong, intricate world building.
While an ancient evil works in secret against them, a clairvoyant witch must aid a young god and find her way home from the Norse realm of Hel.
Being a teenager is tough. It’s even tougher for Celestia Devereaux and Eirik Baldurson, who have paranormal abilities to contend with. Celestia’s clairvoyance, which allows her to astral project, leads her to Eirik, the son of mythological royalty she only thought existed in legend and folklore. At odds with his goddess mother Hel, he prepares for the duties that await him as a god with Celestia’s help. But something—or someone—won’t let her leave his realm; someone who is determined to play a part in his future no matter the cost. Complicated romantic feelings emerge while they work against this ancient evil to return Celestia home safely.
Walters makes Norse myth come alive in DEMONS, reimagining the cold, unforgiving world of Hel into a vast, wondrous land populated with gods and creatures of all kinds. Even though the mythological family tree is mind-boggling, Walters provides a unique spin on the timeless folklore that’s easy to follow. Rich, endless world building, complete with an elaborate magic system that uses ancient runes, is a highlight. DEMONS is told in a dual point of view between Celestia and Eirik that actually enhances the storytelling, which is no small task in YA lit. The novel’s characters, even the minor ones, are its strongest achievement—Trudy, a giantess, and Garm, an enormous six-eyed dog, are memorable. The goddess Hel proves to be a complex antagonist full of love for her son. Her husband Baldur is the epitome of gentle strength, paternal guidance, and warmth. Though there are many YA tropes at work, Walters spins them in a different way. Celestia is equal parts snarky and sympathetic. Her determination and heart, as well as her stubborn nature, shine through. Eirik’s prickly moments of godlike arrogance aren’t tolerated by Celestia in the least. But his inner conflicts are captivating and show a softer, vulnerable side. She brings out the best in him; the banter as their relationship progresses is fun and flirtatious. In a genre plagued by instalove, Celestia and Eirik make a refreshing couple. The cliffhanger ending is abrupt, but it sets up a heartbreaking conflict for the next book.
DEMONS is a fun blend of young adult romance and Norse mythology with strong, intricate world building.