Demonkeeper

Common Sense Media says

Fast-paced adventure with an unexpected hero.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Overall there is a strong message of acceptance. Nat is an orphan who has trouble finding a family because he can see demons. He becomes a demonkeeper much too young, but not before he is ready to care for some demons and protect society from others.

Positive role models

Nat  the orphan, Nat the accidental Demonkeeper, Nat the lonely, lost boy falls naturally into the role of hero and exhibits all the traditional and excellent qualities necessary --  he's quick, smart, and brave -- along with a sense of humor, lack of despair, and deep compassion.

Violence

A little gore -- the Beast in the dungeon wants live food, preferably lost children, and the Demonkeeper who wants the Beast uses his minions to kill several people.

Sex

Nat's mentor has a rule against girls -- as far as he's concerned, they're no better than a secubus. But in the end there is one sweet kiss.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A few secondary characters smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is a little gore and several killings in this tale, making it more appropriate for middleschoolers and up than for the 9-12 age range the publisher recommends. But there's not enough gore to put it in the horror genre and the humor and good nature of the main character add a milder quality. The demons (represented here more as manifestations of chaos) aren't all evil; many of the ones who live with the main character are more mischievous than bad. The Beast, however, is truly evil, and his natural prey is lost children.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

A 15-year-old orphan named Nat finds himself in charge of a houseful of demons after his mentor dies unexpectedly. It's not a sunny day in Seattle: The Beast living in the basement longs for fresh food -- preferably fresh children. His mentor's previous protege, the Thin Man, has gone over to the dark side, and is on his way to Nat's to make the Beast his own. Some skaters break into his house and set the Beast free, but not before he kills and eats one of them. Nat sets off to capture the Beast and finds assistance from unexpected places, including one of the young library staffers who has a crush on him. There are a few deaths before Nat, his minions, and his new friends stop the evil Thin Man and the Beast, and restore a rightful order to the chaos that longs to break free and conquer Seattle.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Nat is an irresistible, unexpected hero in a fast-paced adventure that will have readers wishing for more. Wickedly funny, smart, lonely, and out of place wherever he goes, Nat is beloved only by his minions. Teens will have no trouble relating to this hero who is simply trying to get by -- managing his household of demons and an evil threat while still trying to get a date. And it's a nice touch when he offers another lost kid the same opportunities he was given.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Nat's journey, and why his ability to "see" demons might have made finding an adoptive family difficult.

  • Where does the idea of demons as manifestations of chaos come from? Is this an ancient belief? Is the demonkeeper lore based on mythology?

  • What do you think the most important quality of a demonkeeper is?

  • Why does Nat befriend Richie? How does Sandy see past the image of Nat as a weirdo and a misfit?

Book details

Author:Royce Buckingham
Genre:Fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Puffin
Publication date:October 2, 2008
Number of pages:216
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 11
Read aloud:12
Read alone:13

This review of Demonkeeper was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written bypeony June 23, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

fun; some violence

Amusing and fun, with a good-hearted side, as long as readers are okay with a demon theme, several deaths, and a bit of gore. Two adults, several street kids, and a cat, are killed. The gore/graphicness of these deaths is minimal: more-or-less the earth opens up and the person is swallowed up, but it is clear that they're dead (and there is a bit of gore cleanup after one death, and the eating of the cat is a little more graphic). Nat's demon minions are monstrously adorable -- and I'd expect this book could work well for reluctant readers, especially boys. (However, for younger girl readers looking for a story with "cute monsters", see the much less violent, distinctly girl-oriented "Monster of the Month Club" books.)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Parent of a 12 year old Written byVic_0000000001 January 28, 2011
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Give them something fun and they will learn to read.

I read this story to my son, and it was a real turning point in his reading. He found the story fun, exciting, and leaving him wanting more. The use of language, characters, and plot twists keep you entertained and enjoying the story. It was FUN for me to read and that excitement was noticed by my son when I read it too him. //------------ When I gave this book to a coworker, her son had a similar experience. His mother was worried her son was not using descriptive language in his school essays and wanted to encourage him to read and write better. Using this book and discussion about how the author created the scene and characters. Her sons writing noticeably improved within one month. It is a well written, fun story that will draw kids in.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 16 years old Written byA. S. Green February 7, 2014
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

fun filled adventure

it's pretty good.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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