Review: The Unlikeable Demon Hunter by Deborah Wilde

 

The Unlikeable Demon Hunter by Deborah Wilde (Nava Katz #1)

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Te Da Media on April 18, 2017

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

Bridesmaids meets Buffy with a dash of the seven deadly sins. 

  

THE UNLIKEABLE DEMON HUNTER is the first book in a fun, funny, and unapologetically raunchy new urban fantasy series. This book won’t be for everyone, but I had an absolute blast reading it; this is a clever guilty pleasure at its best.

Nava Katz has known that her twin brother Ari was destined to join the Brotherhood practically since birth, ever since their Rabbi tested him for magic and named him a future demon hunter. While the two siblings are close as they can be, their lives couldn’t be more different: Ari studies his ass off at university and trains with the Brotherhood while Nava drowns her sorrows in booze and hot guys. So when their family discovers that it’s actually Nava who’s the magic wielder, everyone is more than a little shocked and skeptical. For one thing, Nava’s a woman…and she can’t even speak Hebrew! How’s she going to pull off hunting demons with the all-male Brotherhood and using magic rooted in Jewish traditions?

She does it with style, as it turns out. A certain “hot mess je ne sais quoi,” if you will. Nava’s an unapologetic party girl (which I quite liked about her) but she’s basically friendless aside from Ari; she brings fun and sass to the uptight Brothers, while they bring much needed companionship and human connection. After they get over the whole “she’s a woman thing,” that is. But Nava works her way into the hearts of the Brothers, and I think readers will like her too. She’s seriously over the top and crass, but honestly it was refreshing. She drinks, she smokes weed, she hooks up, and she gets herself off, all on page. Pretty typical for a twenty year-old, but not found too often in urban fantasy.

There’s more to Nava than just her wilder side though, which we see mostly through her relationship with Ari (and to a lesser extent, her mentor and friend Rohan). For the first time ever, the twins are at odds…and it’s put Nava off her game. She may not have wanted the life of the Brotherhood, but she can’t apologize for an accident of birth forever. The only logical option? Scheme and manoeuvre her way into securing a spot in the clandestine organization for Ari, despite his lack of magic. Nava’s budding romance with Rohan also shows her more vulnerable side, despite the fact that she tries to play it like she isn’t that into him aside from sex. Mhm, okay girl. Sure you aren’t. I predict an epic push-and-pull between these two throughout the series.

In case you can’t tell, the characters are the real selling point in THE UNLIKEABLE DEMON HUNTER. The world building isn’t anything too special if you’ve read a lot of urban fantasy, although I did love the fact that the religious order in this world is Jewish rather than the default Christian inspired orders you typically see. Each member of the Brotherhood has magic that enables them to fight demons, but it manifests in a different way for each person depending on their personality traits. For Nava, she’s the lady of shock and awe…so she shocks demons. Cute, right? The demons are both gross and fun, and my personal favourite was a half-goblin with a precious gem fetish.

If you enjoy crass humour and you’re in the market for a fun, snarky read, then THE UNLIKEABLE DEMON HUNTER is for you.

Do you like books with raunchy, crass humour? Have you encountered fantasy novels influenced by Jewish traditions recently? Let me know in the comments!

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  • That cover is so cool – I love that she is blowing a bubble from the gum. 😀 Interesting that the religion here is Judaism – I feel like I haven’t across many novels in general (not just urban fantasy) with Judaism playing a role in the story. I feel like I might not like Nava so I’d probably pass on this book. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Danya! Wonderful review!

    Have a lovely week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • Agreed, the cover is tons of fun! And it’s nice to see a UF cover where the protagonist is wearing normal clothes, hahaha.

      The more I think about it, the more I realize how few genre novels represent Judaism at all. The only one that comes to mind is The Golem and the Jinni. Super strange! To enjoy this book you definitely need to like a heroine like Nava so passing might be a good idea in this case. Thanks Alyssa! 🙂

  • It feels like I am not reading UF anymore :/ I miss it

    • I felt exactly the same way! I got burnt out and then stopped reading it altogether for a while.

  • I do think I would like this. Kind of a less extreme version of Blood Oranges, which I enjoyed just fine. I like crass humor when on point and love the sound of the protagonist.

    • Oh yeah, that’s a good comp title for sure.
      Definitely on the lighter side though. The opening chapters were rough but it was smooth sailing afterwards!

  • This sounds like fun! I do love raunchy humor now and then, as long as it makes sense with the rest of the story. And I don’t think I’ve ever read a story based on the Jewish faith quite like this:-)

    • It was such a fun read, Tammy! The perfect book to pull me out of my reading slump. I’m going to keep an eye out for more SFF featuring Judaism, because I haven’t read enough of it. Hopefully I can find some!

  • That’s really neat that Jewish traditions play into the magic system. As you say, it seems like the default for most fantasy settings is that the magic is associated with some vaguely Christian-ish church (which inevitably turns out to secretly be evil!).

    • It was definitely cool, especially because I learned some Hebrew curse words. LOL. The default Christian thing seems like a holdover from all those Medieval European inspired fantasy novels…I’m tired of them! I definitely want to read about other faiths instead.

  • Funny and raunchy you say??I’m very intrigued! It sounds like a fun story and I already absolutely love the sound of Nava! She sounds like the kind of heroine I like reading about. And the romance sounds fabulous too. I NEED!

    • Nava is hilarious! The first couple chapters had me worried she’d live up to the title a bit *too* much, but she’s secretly got a heart of gold. The romance was definitely cute, and Rohan is a PoC so three cheers for that! You’ll have to let me know what you think of it if you end up picking it up, Nick! 🙂

  • Bookworm Brandee

    I like the sound of this, Danya! It’s an interesting premise and Nava seems refreshing! The thought of her in the Brotherhood and the chafing that must cause among the “boys”…it makes me smile. I’ll certainly check out this one!

    • I felt pretty burned out of urban fantasy after reading lots of “same old” stories, so the added flair of the Jewish element of this one was awesome! Nava can definitely hang with the guys and she proves it…much to their chagrin. I’ll be keeping an eye out for your thoughts on this, Brandee!

  • Lynn Williams

    Crass, funny, fun, raunchy – hello, you lovely little book. I think I might just like this. It goes onto the list.
    Lynn 😀

    • It was exactly what I needed: a fun, funny read with a twist on the usual story. Hopefully you enjoy it if you get a chance to pick it up, Lynn!

  • Fun snarky read and crass humour was enough to sell this to me but honestly your entire review has convinced me. Add into the fact it’s 99p to preorder on Amazon and I am all over this book.

    Nava sounds like my kind of character, she sounds fun and relatable. I mean she sounds like she is any 20 year old who totally doesn’t know what they’re doing but they’re going to enjoy themself while they figure it out. Also, the romance sounds good too. I cannot wait to read this at some point in April (hopefully).

    • Yay, my devious plan has worked! Er, I mean, yes. A good review. Whoa, I had no idea it was so cheap right now! That’s awesome.

      Nava is nothing if not fun, and I think she’s relatable for most people too. Not that I was (or am) ever irresponsible…nope, not I. Hahaha. She’s fully aware that she hasn’t got it figured out, but she enjoys herself and that’s the main thing. The romance was cute and lowkey, which is just how I like ’em in urban fantasy. The first two chapters were *rough* and I wasn’t sure I’d like this, but Wilde totally turned it around and I ended up loving this way more than I thought I would. Fingers crossed you like it too, Becky!

  • In the last years I struggled with a lot of UF books because most were too dark for my taste, so this one sounds like a breath of fresh air. I usually like crass humour, so this could be great for me.

    • You’re right Sabrina, UF series tend to be on the darker side of things and it can certainly get tiresome. You’ll be happy to know that this one has a happy ending (even if it is only the first book in a series), and I think you’ll enjoy it so long as you’re prepared for the raunchiness! 😀

  • MaddalenaSpaceandSorcery

    This sounds like a fun approach to some of the best known UF tropes, and I like the fact that the heroine is neither tormented by a dark past, or hiding some terrible secret: from your review I believe I would like Nava quite a bit, not in spite of her brazen approach to life, but because of it 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

    • That’s the perfect way to put it, Maddalena! This is a twist on well-loved urban fantasy tropes, and the unapologetic heroine combined with the Jewish cultural and religious influences makes for a book that feels both familiar and unique. Nava doesn’t have any dark secrets or a dark past, although she does have her issues. But they’re all pretty minor compared to certain other UF heroines! I really liked her and if you’re in the mood for a lighter, raunchier read, then I highly recommend it. 🙂

  • I am all for a woman enjoying her crass side and having fun with it lol Nava sounds so cool AND I am loving she manipulates the order to let Ari in! Also, intrigued by the Jewish religious order too!

    • Me too, Verushka! There aren’t enough ladies in books who get to go out and live it up: those characters usually end up being men. Boring! Hahaha. Oh yeah, Nava has schemes up her sleeve, and her faith and culture play a big role in the book. 🙂

  • Okay, this sounds completely fun and filled with sass and hotness! I’m definitely going take a second look at this new series. Thanks for putting it on my radar. 🙂

    • It 100% is all those things, haha. That’s why it was such a fun read, and a great choice to finally end my reading slump. You’re very welcome, Kim! I hope you get the chance to read this one. 🙂

  • Oh I’m pretty sure I’d love this one, Danya, and I hadn’t heard of it before, so thank you very much for bringing it to my attention!
    A party-girl who has to hunt demons does sound like quite a bit of fun, and I guess that the oxymoronic nature of the brotherhood having to adjust to take in a demon-fighting sister just appeals to me on a level.
    Great review!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    • Yay, I’m so glad I’ve put it on your radar Lexxie! I had a ton of fun reading this one and it helped remind me why I used to love UF so much.

      Nava’s POV is awesome, her antics made me want to hit the town with my friends in solidarity. Hahaha. Oh yeah, the scenes with her and the Brotherhood are all great, the whole “challenging the boy’s club” vibe was awesome. Thank you!

  • I’m really liking the sound of this one! It’s been a while since I read an Urban Fantasy..This might be a good place to start 🙂 Nava sounds so freaking cool!! Thanks for the great review Danya <3

    • This one is a great pick if you’re looking to get back into UF because it has a lot of cool twists on the genre! Nava is SUCH a fun heroine, I had a blast following her adventures. Thanks Uma! 🙂

  • It sounds cute. Love the cover too. I’ll have to check it out soon

  • This book is not something I
    would pick up based on the blurb, but you definitely changed my perspective. Fun,
    snarky read? A sassy heroine with a wild streak? I’m sold and added this to my
    tbr. It’s a debut series, isn’t it?