Lord Loss by Darren Shan

A review of the children’s horror novel Lord Loss by Darren Shan.

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Lord Loss is the debut novel of the Demonata series by Darren Shan. The book follows Grubbs Grady as he discovers a secret demonic world behind ours. After the tragic murder of his parents and sister at the hands of these demons he spends a bit of time in a mental institute before his uncle comes and gets him out. Over the course of the book, Grubbs learns about magic, demons and the curse that plagues his family. Naturally, he has to do battle with the very demon who killed his family, Lord Loss.

Lord Loss is a young adult book, so it’s got all the YA stuff that you’d expect – Grubbs trying to fit into his new school, making friends, struggling with the trauma of what happened to him. There are problems with the book, Darren Shan struggles in places to write dialogue for a young teenager, for instance, but I found myself overlooking these issues. That’s in large to the characters and the world that he created.

Grubbs doesn’t want to be the hero. He doesn’t want to have the power that he has and he fights himself more than the demons. When I read Lord Loss, I’m right there with him, feeling that reluctance to get involved, feeling the pressure on his shoulders as if they were my own. And that’s down the quality of the writing and character development. Every person in the book is written with as much care and detail as if they were the protagonist. There’s one character who has maybe one hundred pages of screen time across the entire ten book series, yet when they died I felt it. And that’s not an easy thing to do.

The universe that Darren created is also something that I am particularly fond of. There’s an entire ruleset for how magic works, who can do it and what they can do. There are different types of magic users and a hierarchy to the demonic lands that adds a great deal of depth to the overall story. Later on, there’s even a universe origin story that is actually quite clever. There’s as much depth to the mythology and the lore as there is to the characters, and that makes Lord Loss a very enjoyable read.

It’s a young adult book and it’s not going to win any awards for its services to literature or anything like that, but Lord Loss is a thoroughly enjoyable book for people of any age. You should check it out.

Davina Chime is a Thanet-born hopeless romantic.

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