13 December, 2012

Review - Echoes of the Past (Demon Squad #4) by Tim Marquitz

For some reason I have a really hard time reviewing sequels. Obviously, I've read this far (especially 4 books in), so I'm a big fan at least of the first ones. Then again, readers couldn't possibly be accused of being OCD when it comes to finishing right?

And while I realize they could have "jumped the shark" (has this phrase jumped the shark yet?), I still find it difficult to review. Are you allowed to assume people will know to read at their peril? Do you have to do big spoiler warnings? Are there really rules for things like reviewing (lots of people on Goodreads seem to think so at least)?

Anyway suffice it to say, the Demon Squad series is easily my favorite urban fantasy series. That may also be because it's not your typical urban fantasy although it does include a first person point of view, lots of jokes, and of course buxom ladies.

A lot of this lies in the main protagonist, and first person point of view, of Frank Trigg. He's instantly relatable and a total dog. Not a werewolf or anything, which is not unfathomable in UF, but more toward women and with most things he thinks about (which is everything in this first person narrative). 

At the same time, he's a good guy, though if you said so he'd probably punch you in the face. He'd do anything for his friends and family, even the ones that hate his guts, but again, you'd never hear him admit as such.

I feel it's important to make those distinctions because I think that's what I like about him. We all have this image of ourselves, but maybe we're actually a little better than we think we are ... maybe we're worse too. But I don't think the latter is very often the case, I think most don't think as much. 

Again, not that Frank would ever even entertain this notion either. :D

The Demon Squad series deals with a world where God and the Devil have taken off and left the angels and demons and any other creatures, along with humanity on their own. Different factions attempt to take control, but there are still some people who attempt to do what's best for the world. Some include an organization dedicated to this same idea called DRAC (Demonic Resistance And Containment) and of course Frank Trigg who's mostly considered a member some of the time. :)

Now's the point where spoilers come in for the earlier books. Let me know if you don't need this warning.

In Echoes of the Past [US] [UK] as usual Frank can't get a break. He just helped save the world in At the Gates and still people think he's bad. I guess being Lucifer's nephew kind of doesn't make you popular.

Not only does Frank have the usual problems with demons trying to stomp all over him, he's been forced to take a break from DRAC and even the government is now after him, who knows less than nothing but is willing to assert itself anyway. That's the one thing that the author just didn't get right for me. :D

Oh, and there's an alien after him for no apparent reason whatsoever. Yup, that's just normal for Frank.

This installment in the Demon Squad series was a little more heavy on building up some of the world and the mysteries and even one big reveal that was more of a soft reveal that was purposely telegraphed toward the beginning. That's not to say there isn't lots of action because no Demon Squad book could ever be accused of lacking for action, Echoes of the Past included. Seriously, tons!

Tim Marquitz not only fills the pages with action, but does so exceptionally well. He also has a wonderfully creepy imagination. The alien wears a suit of faces, for instance, and individual faces are described, the alien's magic uses his magic to take things out of books and drop them on people (namely Frank), such as whales (Moby Dick and its inherent jokes). What kind of bibliophile doesn't love that?

In addition to a great story, Echoes of the Past opens the story up to something I've been waiting for since the very beginning of this series. I won't get into it, but it has me VERY excited. As At the Gates pushed the Demon Squad series into a more epic territory, Echoes of the Past builds on that, filling in the backstory and opening up the scope even more.

If you're ready for a different kind of urban fantasy, this is just for you. If you're ready for action-packed fun and your jokes are often accused of being perfect for a junior high kid, this series is perfect. The Demon Squad series is my favorite urban fantasy series for good reason and Echoes of the Past is a worthy installment.

4 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended!)

Also check out this new interview of Tim Marquitz at Battle Hymns.

The Demon Squad series:
1) Armageddon Bound (review)
2) Resurrection (review)
3) At the Gates (review)
4) Echoes of the Past
5) (forthcoming)

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher


Ryan said...

I have a tough time with reviews of sequels as well. Good to know I'm not the only one.

Great review though. How anxious are you for DS5?

Bryce L. said...

Very much so. Can't wait and he said he'll be writing soon if he hasn't already started. The guy's a machine, I swear.