I finally got around to reading Jason Brick’s Wrestling Demons after the ARC sat at the top of my reading list for a few months. The book felt very familiar to me—I feel like I’ve seen many iterations of this exact book before. In fact, I wrote this book, or one so very similar. This one, however, is better than most… even if it’s written in a first person POV (which, if you follow my reviews, you would know I detest.) The POV does seem to drop at times, but it’s not highly noticeable and far better than the forced perspective many shoehorn authors write a story into.
The writing is tight and the YA nature of the book is appropriate and authentic. The protagonist, Connor Morgan seems like a real person and his situations (and responses) feel real. Connor discovers that there is a kind of demonic presence permeating his school. Brick writes this supernatural realm with a detailed hierarchy that is rooted in far eastern mythology and Connor is dragged into this world (this is a familiar trope, and you could look up the comic book I worked on called Warrior Gift of Sight a decade ago to find my own take on it—but Brick executes the story well, perhaps better than most.) I did appreciate the line about how his demonic oni are attracted to drama and misery and that’s why Connor’s school is basically an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The story has a great cast of characters and is paced well (though it started a little more slowly than I preferred, but that might be due to the POV demanding a few extra steps to establish characters without an info dump/as-you-know-bob which Brick resists.)
(I got a free copy in exchange for an honest review.) I’d recommend this story. You can pick it up by clicking here.