Foretold
by Jana Oliver, fantasy (2012)
Macmillan, £6.99, ISBN 978-1-4472-1606-3


Foretold is the final book in Jana Oliver's Demon Trappers series, and I'm sure it goes without saying that you do not read this book first if you have not read the previous three books. In fact, unless you're enamored of that blistering pimple on the rear end of this series - that wretch named Denver Beck - you may just want to read the first two books and give the rest a miss. While I will not go into major spoilers in this review, I'll just say that this one has Denver violating my sensibilities front and center from first page to last.

In this one, the author wraps up some loose ends about Riley Blackthorne's soul and the fate of Ori, but the bulk of the story is all about giving Denver a ladder to get over himself. Riley follows Denver back to his hometown where Denver proceeds to sulk and moan about how he's shagged every woman back in town - this is the idiot who accuses Riley of being a whore for sleeping with one dude, by the way - but nobody likes him and they even think he's a killer so oh, it's boo-hoo-hoo time. Oh, and I learn that he has what seems like a hundred ex-girlfriends, and honestly, I can't imagine why none of them wanted to stay with him for longer than a shag. And because I don't give a damn about this pathetic waste of flesh unless the scene involves him meeting a slow and gory end in a demon-possessed wood chipper, I can't wade through a dozen pages of this book without forcing myself to take a deep breath.

No, I don't like Denver, although "don't like" is actually an understatement when it comes to my burning hot hatred for this walking rear end. If you have read my reviews of the previous books in this series, you will know that I abhor this wretch for treating Riley so badly in the last three books. He's that ass who says really mean and cruel things to Riley when she's at her most vulnerable, abandons her to sleep with a floozy when she needs him the most, and generally does that tired and clichéd "I'm treating you like crap because I'm just jealous and I really secretly love you" nonsense.

Let's count the ways Riley has suffered. She had lost her father, was betrayed by the guy she thought was her boyfriend, followed by the other Trappers turning their back to him, and on and on for three freaking books, and Riley took all this in the face like a trooper. Sometimes she breaks down, but she's only 17, and after all the crap she has endured, she jolly well deserves to break down and cry if you ask me. And then there's Denver, who spent the last three books insulting, belittling, and mocking Riley when he's not abandoning her and making her feel like crap. Oh, but he's hurting, because his mother was awful to him and the people in his old town hated him. Oh, that is so sad! It's even more sad that he doesn't have the guts to end his own miserable pathetic life. Instead, he wines and gripes his way into Riley's bloomers, when Ori, the poor fellow who sacrifices everything for Riley, is treated as the collateral damage in the series. If you tell me that I can change things up and have Riley end up with Ori if I sacrifice a chicken to some dark deity, I'd rush to the market and order a whole coop of chicken right away.

Okay, so there is way too much of Denver's self-pitying worthless rear end in this story. But usually Ms Oliver writes well enough to engage my affections, right? Well, not here. It is as if another author had taken over the writing duties. If I wore a tinfoil hat, I'd say that Ms Oliver had been kidnapped by a bunch of angry "Denley" shippers and the book was actually written by a thirteen-year old who bases her emotional scenes on transcripts of Oprah's talk shows. There was none of the nuanced and heartstrings-tugging narrative of the previous books. Here, I am hit in the head constantly by how Denver is such a sad misunderstood twat-faced emo emu who deserves sympathy despite behaving disproportionately bitter and cruel all this while. And Riley, the not-that-wise 17-year old girl, morphs into Oprah's heaving comforting bosoms in this story.

She carefully laid her hand on his heaving chest. "Inside here is the heart of a good man, an honest man. A hero," she said in a hushed voice. "He'll rush into the flames, risk death to save others." She looked up into tortured eyes. "Isn't it time he saved himself?"

Okay, what happened to the Riley that I liked? Who, what, is this.. thing? The Riley from previous books will not speak like a love guru hawking her books on a TV commercial, she will curse, shout, and give Denver the middle finger. Really, I am starting to believe that this book was written by a thirteen-year old Denley shipper while the real Jana Oliver is all tied up somewhere.

If I were to exorcise all that "Denver is emo, so sad, so sweet" nonsense from this book, it will be only about a third of its current length. What is left could have been interesting, as it focuses on Riley instead that putrefying waste of flesh, but everything happens in a blinding rush without any decent plot development.

Far from being a gripping conclusion to an actually solid series, Foretold is like the Denley dam finally breaking down and all the hideous foul-swelling Denley sewage just spew forth to drown me in a putrid effluence of suck. Seriously, who should I sacrifice the chicken to in order to have Denver exorcised permanently from this book? This one is a Denley nightmare, and I just can't take it. I loved the first two books in this series, so I don't understand why Ms Oliver has to be so cruel to shove Denver's big fat ass of worthlessness at my face and force me to inhale deeply. That's just mean!

Rating: 48


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