Grimluk is an orc with one purpose: hunting demons.
An isolated farming town has a demon problem, and Grimluk is on hand to fix it. But this time, things aren’t that simple. While Grimluk hunts the demon, a rock crashes from the sky; a rock containing something alien to the world of Arkod. Something oozing and grotesque. Something hungry.
Hunter becomes hunted as this new threat pursues Grimluk, all but immune to his bullets. Worse, the creature’s deadly shapeshifting nature means it could be anywhere – or anyone – around him. Despite his efforts to protect his new friends and the rest of the innocent townsfolk, Grimluk learns all too quickly that it’ll take more than a quick hand and a strong will to win this fight.
For nothing is deadlier than the demons within.
This is the third installment in Ashe Armstrong’s Grimluk, Demon Hunter, weird western series. I have to say, I really enjoyed this one, especially some of the themes expressed in the book.
On the surface this is a story about a demon hunter doing what he does best–hunting demons. Grimluk wanders the small communities and towns of this western/frontier setting, looking for bounties and to rid these communities of any demons that have been plaguing them. Things get a bit off course, however, when one of the demons that he encounters does not act the way a normal demon acts. This kind of made me, for the first time, question Grimluk and his ‘kill all the demons’ stance. He’s the hero, but I almost felt a little sorry for this first demon he encounters. Can demons be…not bad? After collecting his pay, Grimluk goes on his way, none the wiser to the events that he’s set into motion behind him.
In this story, Grimluk is on his own again and I missed seeing his relationships with his family and his adopted little sister. But because he was alone he was able to make some new friends. I enjoyed the characters of Emerald and Manyara, but especially Emerald. I liked the friendship she formed with Grimluk and it allowed for us to see yet another side of his character–a side that is a bit vulnerable and scarred from his life hunting demons. At one point there is a conversation about fear, and how it isn’t that Grimluk isn’t afraid, just that he doesn’t let it rule him or he’ll make stupid mistakes that could mean death. But we did get to see how afraid Grimluk was in this one, actually thinking that there was a real possibility he wasn’t going to make it out alive. I appreciated seeing this side of him.
The monster in this book is nasty, and one of the more terrifying creatures I’ve read about. The horror influences really come through and I feel like this book was darker in tone than the previous two. It’s a sort of blob monster that can break apart and form into other things. It’s sentient and it’s very hungry and the more it eats the bigger it grows. It, in conjunction with a demon and some other things it picks up along its way, is exceedingly dangerous, eating its way through entire towns while it searches for Grimluk on its quest for vengeance.
I do feel like there where times when I was a little confused by the demon/blob monster’s behavior. Times when it should have acted out against Grimluk and didn’t. Was this because it was confused and trying to understand, or being controlled by someone else? Also, I wish we had cycled back a bit to the original demon and why it seemed more curious and a bit of a prankster than doing any real harm…because I felt it was kind of unfair that it had to die. But I do think some of that point comes through in the end, the way that Grimluk ultimately dealt with this monster was maybe a lesson learned. If that is the case, I guess I wish that had been a little more clear.
I think that the prose in this one was great, and the writing overall continues to improve with each book. The pacing was good as well, even if I would have liked a little less from the monster’s POV.
Overall, I really enjoyed this latest in the Grimluk series and am looking forward to reading more of his adventures in the future. 3.5/5 Stars.