Fangirl Book Club Pick of the Month: “Demonic Dora” by Claire Chilton

Demonic Dora by Claire ChiltonEvery month, our book club votes on the book we will read for that month. January’s book was Demonic Dora by Claire Chilton. The following review is based on both verbal and online discussions.

Spoiler-­free Synopsis:

Sixteen year old Dora Carradine is something of a black sheep in her ultra-conservative family. Her father is a fiery televangelist, her mother a vapid, Stepford-like follower. Dora is subjected to exorcisms on a regular basis, her parents assuming that her snarky attitude is the work of the devil and his minions of evil. As the ultimate act of rebellion, Dora has been attempting to summon a demon lord. She eventually succeeds… in a fashion. The demon lord who appears in her closet is not quite what she is expecting. Young and handsome, Kieran’s family is at part of Hell’s higher echelons. The problem is, Kieron is not very good at being evil. When Dora’s fire-and-brimstone family take matters into their own hands, almost costing Dora her life, Kieron intervenes and whisks Dora to Hell—much to her delight. But things down below are not what she expects.

Fangirls’ Analysis:

January’s hostess chose this book it appeared to be dissimilar to what we’ve read before and it had good reviews on Goodreads. Club members voted for it because the premise sounded fresh and the synopsis had an element of humor that appealed.

What We Liked:

Overwhelmingly, club members’ favorite part of this book was a small, fuzzy, demon named Pooey. He brought to mind Winnie the Pooh’s Eeyore, if only for his continuously dejected demeanor. Full of snide, almost under-his-breath remarks, Pooey was a constant source of entertainment.

Humor was this book’s best quality. Dora and Kieron exchanged quips and one-liners that made several readers literally laugh out loud. It’s unclear whether the author intended this book to be satirical or not, but assuming that it is, club members greatly appreciated the references (i.e. the ninth level of Hell is reserved for “nasty book editors” and internet trolls bent on destroying authors’ hard work.)

What We Didn’t Like:

Demonic Dora had more than a few inconsistencies. When Dora arrives in Hell, the first demon she and Kieron come across can easily sense her humanity – her soul. The author seems to make a point of bringing this to the reader’s attention, but it is barely mentioned again except in passing. No other demons are able to sense her, at least not that the reader ever finds out. Some of the humor (things like snot and poop jokes) brought the book down from YA to middle grade, while much of the language and content would not be appropriate for a younger crowd. There are a couple of passages that seem to come out of nowhere, as if an incompetent editor had removed relevant passages that might have provided much-needed clarity.

Overall, this book received mixed reviews from club members. A few continued on to the next book, Deceased Dora, while others were less than impressed. Everyone was able to finish the book and it was a very quick read.

Fangirl Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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