Book review by
Debra Bogart, Common Sense Media
Demonkeeper Book Poster Image
Fast-paced adventure with an unexpected hero.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few secondary characters smoke cigarettes.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byVic_0000000001 January 28, 2011

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 lang... Continue reading
Parent of a 9 and 11-year-old Written bypeony June 23, 2010

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,... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byA. S. Green February 7, 2014

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 11
  • Number of pages: 216
  • Last updated: July 13, 2017

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and adventure

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