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Literature / The Demonata

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Lord Loss sows all the sorrows of the world...

The Demonata is the second full-length Dark Fantasy / Horror series by Irish author Darren Shan. Unlike The Saga, this series has three narrators, with different books told from different perspectives.

The plot features far too many twists to be quickly summarized, but it starts with our first narrator, perfectly normal teenager Grubbs Grady in a perfectly normal town, long story short, some demon related stuff happens and... things go bad. Really bad. And then they get worse. And worse. And worse. After which, things really start to get nasty.

To say this series is violent is like saying the ocean is wet; lets make this clear- this story is for children, but right from the get-go the reader will be treated to some of the most ludicrously over-the-top ultraviolence ever put to print. The Demonata are evil with a capital E, and many, many characters die explicitly gruesome and horrific deaths on-page, to say nothing of the countless others whose horribly mutilated corpses are come across. You have been warned.

The series consists of ten major books:

  • Lord Loss
  • Demon Thief
  • Slawter
  • Bec
  • Blood Beast
  • Demon Apocalypse
  • Death's Shadow
  • Wolf Island
  • Dark Calling
  • Hell's Heroes

Provides Examples Of:

  • Above the Gods: At the end of the series Grubbs, Bec and Kernal become Physical Gods, and then discover at the very end of the series that something out there is even more powerful then them.
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: Averted. In between Lord Loss and Slawter, Dervish sees a therapist who already knows about demons. However, his experiences in Lord Loss's realm are so completely horrible that the therapist is scared off anyway.
  • Anachronic Order: While most of the books are in chronological order, Demon Thief is set a few decades before the rest of the series, and Bec is set 1600 years before.
  • And I Must Scream: Bec spends 1600 years trapped as a spirit in a cave. Her part of the Kah-Gash deals with memory. Specifically, remembering everything.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The demons are universally depicted as cruel, monstrous savages whose sole purpose is to exterminate humanity out of pure hatred. Lord Loss, despite being the Big Bad, turns out to be an exception. He has an interest in keeping humans alive so he can feed on their pain, whereas other demons just want to kill them all.
  • Back from the Dead: Bec, possessing Bill-E's body.
  • Blessed with Suck: Kernel has always been able to see patches of light floating around, and can use them to create inter-dimensional demon portals. On one hand, it gave him his little brother, Art.. On the other hand...having anything to do with demons in this world will not end well for you. Particularly considering Art is Lord Loss's demonic maggot-infested pet baby. Plus, there's the whole "everyone thinks I'm insane" thing that he had to deal with.
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: Pretty much the Demonata universe as a whole. However, the universe itself is divided into infinite sub-sections which can range from very unique to very stereotypical, depending on the creativity of the demon who made the universe.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Kernel pees his pants when confronted by Mrs. Egin.
  • Brown Note: When Grubbs sees Lord Loss slaughter his family, Grubbs is literally so terrified that he's driven insane. It's implied that if Dervish had not shown up to tell Grubbs that there were people who believed him, and to just play along with the psychiatrists, he would have wasted away and died.
  • Call-Back: In Demon Apocalypse, an elderly lady who can wield a mace expertly is mentioned very briefly. Later on, in Hell's Heroes, which is an alternate timeline, she's mentioned again, having been killed by a large snake demon Grubbs is hunting in the beginning.
  • Chess with Death: Aside from revelling in every shape and form of human misery, playing chess is the only thing Lord Loss thoroughly enjoys, enough that he's willing to bet curing a member of the Garadex-line from their lycanthropy, if his challenger beats him in a best-out-of-five simultaneously played match. However if the challenger, or their partner keeping Lord Loss' familiars at bay loses, Lord Loss can kill all three of them.
  • Child by Rape: Beranabus's father was a minor demon, who kidnapped and raped a princess from ancient Crete, sending her back pregnant.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Humans who side with the Demonata. It never ends well for them.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: subverted The ending sure looks that way, with the demonic hordes closing in on the universe, until the moment that the three users of the Kah-Gash proceed to use their power to annihilate nearly all the demon hordes, stop the events that lead the concept of death becoming sentient, and finally remaking the universe with the demon hordes out of the picture ''for good''
  • Character Title: Lord Loss and Bec introduce the characters with the same name.
  • Devoured by the Horde: In Bec, Orna is eaten alive by her zombified children. And she dies willingly. Needless to say it's one of the more chilling deaths in the series.
  • Downer Ending: Darren Shan is the master of this trope. Bec, the main character of the fourth book, is actually killed at the end. Although she comes back at the end of book six, and narrates book seven.
  • Eaten Alive: Several characters, but most notable is Bec at the end of her titular book, since it's from her point of view
  • Eldritch Abomination: The bigger, nastier demons have shades of this. Death even moreso. But the grand prize goes to the Kah-Gash.
  • Emotion Eater: Lord Loss. Its not totally clear if he is literally this and actually feeds on suffering, or is simply a lot more sadistic than the rest of his demon brethren, though they aren't mutually exclusive interpretations.
  • Eye Scream: In Book 2, Demon Thief, there are a good three pages where Kernel angsts about whether he's in the dark or he's gone blind. He's in the dark. But guess what happens to him in Book 9?
    • Book 6. There is a scorpion demon with a human face that stabs you in the eyes and lays eggs in them, which then rapidly hatch and eat your face from the eye sockets out. Kernel gets attacked by it. Yeah. Fortunately, some time between books 6 and 7 he learns to use magic to regrow his eyes, but only on the demon planes.
    • There's also an unfortunate guard who opens fire on a demon-queen. The bullets stop, turn into horrific bugs, and speed back towards the guard, latch onto his eyes, and burrow through to his brain. Basically, this happens a lot. Repeatedly to Kernel, but also to Grubbs and several others.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Nadia Moore is revealed to have joined Lord Loss, masquerading as Juni Swan in order to fool the others.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Mages can reattach and regrow body parts to some extent, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.
  • Gorn: Pretty much every fight scene. An extreme example shows up close to the beginning of the first book, with Lord Loss murdering Grubbs's family.
  • The Grim Reaper: In a deviation from the traditional robed skeleton, this version of death is a malevolent, shadowy monster. And he wants to end the universe, with the aid of every demon in existence
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Subverted. At best the characters will comes across corpses after they have been brutally torn to pieces, but even this will be described in savage detail. More often than not the insanely violent death will be carried out on page. There is no such thing as this trope in this series.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Juni Swan after her resurrection. Also Grubbs, Kernel and Bec turn out to be this by default as they are components for the Kah-Gash. Grubbs later on even unlocked the ability to shapeshift with added Body Horror.
  • Hidden Depths: After spending the majority of the third book as a nuisance for Grubbs and Bill-E, Bo risks her life to save her father and brother. She doesn't make it.
  • Hope Spot: Inverted in the sixth book. We witness what happens when a tunnel is actually opened, but time is reset to before it happens.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    • Let's just say that teaming up with these demons is a bad idea. No seriously, a reeeaally bad idea. Bec seemed to do okay in Hell's Heroes, but then she wasn't really on their side, maybe. To paraphrase from the Discworld, if there's any power in demonology, it lies with the demons.
    • Beranabus admits that he is one.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Grubbs has no interest in the world of magic or demon fighting. Too bad You Can't Fight Fate.
  • Invincible Villain: At first Lord Loss. That is until He's revealed to be one of the weakest Demon Masters.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Demons seem to regard everything as potential food, including each other, and humans are no exception.
  • Immune to Bullets: This one's actually a subversion. The demons are only vulnerable to magical weaponry. Along with swords and axes, that includes magical bullets.
  • Karma Houdini: Lord Loss gets off totally scot-free, and is left as the last demon with any kind of power in existence. In other words, despite his jaw-droppingly horrific crimes. he got exactly what he wanted and the rest of eternity to enjoy it with.
  • Kill It with Fire: Sharmila's usual technique of battling the Demonata.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Slawter Davida Haym makes a deal with Lord Loss, that in exchange for handing over the Gradys to him, he promised that he'd allow her crew to film how his minions commit a slaughter. He didn't promise her crew would be spared, while they made the film.
  • Mind Screw: Used frequently by Lord Loss to psychologically destroy his victims. Grubbs mind screws him back during the chess match.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The Demonata tend to be this, explanation being they envy natural forms and end up copying them.
  • Mundane Utility: Early in the second book, Kernel's narration mentions that he can use the lights to improve his night vision.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: In the final novel, Lord Loss turns-out to have been rather weak by Demon Master standards, and the reason he kept to Earth was simply because most other Masters didn't care for it.
  • Old Soldier: Many of the Disciples count as this. The most notable example is Shark, who has been fighting against the Demonata since the Vietnam War.
  • Narnia Time: Time travels differently in each Demon Universe so characters from different times can interact and end up similar ages. Also leads to odd events such as Kernel returning to his parents after being missing for a number of years but he hasn't aged at all.
    • It gets funny when a Disciple asks who won the world war, when asked which one he says "there was another one?"
  • Power Trio: Grubbs, Kernel and Bec, the three parts of the Kah-Gash.
    • The Id: Grubbs, the most powerful magically out of them and later also a rewolf
    • The Super Ego: Kernel, probably the most cerebral out of the three
    • The Ego: Bec, somewhere between the other two, and almost certainly the most diplomatic (as far as the setting allows anyone to be diplomatic)
  • Really 700 Years Old: Lord Loss. Probably most of the Demonata. Also Beranabus and Bec.
  • Reality Warper: Every Mage and Magician is this to some minor degree, however, the Kah-Gash takes the cake because it can literally do anything it pleases with the universes. It actually ascends this level and becomes a Reality Maker.
  • Shout-Out: In Slawter, the giant cockroach demon is named Gregor, a reference to Gregor Samsa from Kafka's The Metamorphosis. Bo laughs at the reference, but Grubbs does not get the joke.
    • In Wolf's Island, there's Shark's team of 12, which he calls the Dirty Dozen and explicitly states his love of the movie.
    • Also in Wolf's Island is the character Antoine Horwitzer, who is a homage to Darren Shan's close friend and fellow author, Anthony Horowitz.
    • The black portals used in Demon Thief and Demon Apocalypse are referred to as monoliths, and when he first sees one Dervish expressly compares them to the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • The Quincy Punk: Dervish was this in his teenage years during the 70s, complete with a spiked purple Mohawk, leather clothing, chains and piercings.
  • Time Travel: It is said to be an impossible feat, even for the most powerful Magicians. However, because the Kah-Gash is a Reality Maker, it can do this when all three pieces are brought together.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Kirilli, over the last couple books, goes from an incompetent whiner to a demon-killing machine.
  • Uneven Hybrid: The werewolf-curse on the Garadex/Grady-clan is the result of an ancestor interbreeding with a demon in failed a power grab. The magical gene is so resistant, that even after thousands of years of outbreeding and "culling" those who turned, it still pops up in every generation.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: After resetting the universe to before the Big Bang, Grubbs, Kernel and Bec decide to exterminate every demon master capable of starting the war, that led to it's collapse in the first place, except for one: Lord Loss.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Grubbs, Juni/Nadia. Most recently the Old Creatures when they talked to Kernel.
  • Vow of Celibacy: Priestesses used to be forbidden from romance in general since it supposedly led to a loss in magic. Over sixteen hundred years, this belief eventually turned out to be false, but the ancient priestesses still count.
    • Although not expressly stated as such, it's implied that Dervish took one as well, since he vowed to not have children to avoid passing down the werewolf-curse. The only way he could be absolutely sure about it, was by not having sex, since even the best protection is only 98% safe.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Lord Loss makes a point of never lying, but he tends to speak in half-truths when it suits him.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess pile up: The whole series essentially revolves around Lord Loss, Death and the Kah-Gash each employing plans which include the other two and are decided by which of the three Bec, Grubbs and Kernel side with. In the end, Grubbs stands opposed to all three, Kernel has taken a fourth option and gone neutral and Bec sides with Lord Loss and employs her own ploy to trick Death and the Kah-Gash. Which is actually the best outcome, even if she does side with Lord Loss.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: When Kernel and his family finally move to a new home, start making friends with a little brother he loves, all of their schoolmates are massacred, and Kernel must go into the demon realms to get back his kidnapped brother. Who is actually Artery.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Multiple humans throw their lot in with the Demonata on the promises of wealth and power (and in one instance on the promise of making a really good movie). This never ends well - Lord Loss is usually honest, but milks Exact Words for all they're worth, and will happily kill someone simply because he didn't explicitly say he wouldn't. Other demons don't even bother with the courtesy, and kill their human allies the second they fulfil their purpose.