cover image Practical Demonology

Practical Demonology

Clare Rees. Amulet, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-41974-558-4

Presumed-white teenagers fight pestilence and an eerie demon siege with epidemiology in this grotesque fantasy horror standalone. A recurring plague has reached socially anxious Non’s citadel, an oasis in lands haunted by the demons who killed her mother. Quarantined at abandoned Cirtop Castle with students from religious Kintaborel and athletic, militaristic Castle Goch, Non, who has been studying medicine, is swallowed by repair work, mapping the abandoned landscape, and an instant attraction to Goch resident Sam. After Cirtop residents find a church full of corpses incubating demon eggs, demon attacks and an escalating siege spur Non to pick up her mother’s unfinished research into demonology. Kinetic prose and a unique approach to apocalypse imbue Rees’s (Jelly) humorous but no less claustrophobic world with slow-creeping dread and body horror. Though secondary characters can be thinly rendered, this volume’s unsettling spirit will linger deliciously for fans of Iain M. Banks or Kendare Blake. Ages 12–up. Agent: Claire Wilson, Rogers, Coleridge, and White. (Mar.)