I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Demonologist on March 5th 2013
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Fans of The Historian won’t be able to put down this spellbinding literary horror story in which a Columbia professor must use his knowledge of demonic mythology to rescue his daughter from the Underworld.
Professor David Ullman’s expertise in the literature of the demonic—notably Milton’s Paradise Lost—has won him wide acclaim. But David is not a believer.
One afternoon he receives a visitor at his campus office, a strikingly thin woman who offers him an invitation: travel to Venice, Italy, witness a “phenomenon,” and offer his professional opinion, in return for an extravagant sum of money. Needing a fresh start, David accepts and heads to Italy with his beloved twelve-year-old daughter Tess.
What happens in Venice will send David on an unimaginable journey from skeptic to true believer, as he opens himself up to the possibility that demons really do exist. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David attempts to rescue his daughter from the Unnamed—a demonic entity that has chosen him as its messenger.
‘Wandering this darksome desert, as my way
Lies through your spacious empire up to light
Alone, and without giude, half lost, I seek…’
‘The Demonologist’ is a sophisticated thriller that focuses solely on John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ (and I think it should be noted that it’s not a prerequisite to have read Milton before ‘The Demonologist’ either.) It’s not overly steeped in symbolism without sufficient explanation that anyone couldn’t pick it up and understand it.
David Ullman is a non-believer despite the fact that he has dedicated his adult life to studying demonic literature, primarily Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’. When he’s approached one afternoon and asked to be a witness to a phenomenon that requires his professional opinion as a ‘Demonologist’ he accepts the offer and shortly afterwards is headed to Venice, Italy with his twelve-year-old daughter Tess. What David sees in Venice will leave him questioning everything he has ever believed. And when Tess is taken, he has no choice but to accept the things he saw in order to save her from the Underworld.
‘…I am an insistently rational sort, a spoilsport by nature when it comes to the fantastical. I’ve made an entire career out of doubt.
Yet here I am. Seeing the unseeable.’
Extremely creepy and unnerving. The type that really manages to burrow it’s way under your skin. The type that gives you goosebumps. The type that leaves you gasping at it’s intensity. The story line was riveting and I found myself flipping through pages rapidly. I’m not typically a fan of scary stories but this one was incredibly well done (I just made sure I kept to reading this while the sun was still up. But even with the sun there were moments where I feared my eyeballs were about to fall out of my head).
Just like that.
So why only 3 stars? Despite the fact that this book had me completely captivated, I felt the ending was an absolute disaster… to put it lightly. There were so many questions generated throughout the book that it was an exciting race to get to the end to get some answers. But it felt like the ending was entirely way too rushed to the point of it being utterly unintelligible. There were so many loose ends that the author may have possibly intended in order for the reader to interpret individually but that didn’t work for me at all. I even thought for a minute that this was a first in a series because of the abundant amount of unanswered questions but to the best of my knowledge, this is a stand alone. A completely enjoyable book with a less than satisfying ending.