Like John Connolly’s The Gates, The Accidental Demon Slayer made me think a lot about my preferred ratio of novelty and familiarity in straightforward escapist genre fiction. The Accidental Demon Slayer‘s mix is a bit too calculated for my taste — Lizzie’s struggle with her suddenly revealed identity as a chosen “slayer” and its accompanying unfamiliar powers seems to owe more than a small debt to a certain Joss Whedon-helmed franchise, while the target reader-identification demographic skews a bit older, a la Sookie Stackhouse.
The Accidental Demon Slayer delivered barely enough novelty to keep me reading through it’s first half, but I thought it picked up significantly when it got around to dealing with the main plot arc. Kudos are also due to Fox for writing an actual self-contained novel; I feared at one point that she was setting up a quest that would take several episodic-encounter-filled novels to resolve, but The Accidental Demons Slayer delivers a reasonable amount of closure.
I suspect that some of the authors with carefully generic, low-on-identifiable-ethnicity names churning out “paranormal romance” by the reamful will eventually be revealed to be stables of ghost writers in the “Victor Appleton” mode. But I don’t think Angie Fox is one of those, primarily because The Accidental Demon Slayer had a few howlers that I wouldn’t expect from a professional ghost writer*, like this description of an “industrial shower”: “It didn’t have a curtain, no real floor even. The water drained into a metal pipe that pushed up about an inch out of the concrete floor.” I also noticed a continuity problem in the novel’s obligatory sex scene. First there’s, “I stared at him, unable to speak, as he slowly unfastened each white button on my blouse,” followed in two pages by, “He yanked my shirt open, sending buttons flying.”
But despite its flaws, there’s some spark here. I have the sense that Fox was writing exactly the type of book that she really wanted to read as much as writing a book filling rigid marketability requirements. And even if it’s not exactly the type of book I want to read, I liked it well enough that I’ll probably read more from Fox.
*or a semi-conscious copy editor!
needs more demons? A few more demons might not have hurt.