On Sunday, July 31 2011, Los Angeles publishing house, Pendraig Publishing is releasing its first young adult fiction title, The Demon’s Apprentice, by debut author, Ben Reeder. Pendraig, a pagan-centered publishing house which got its start publishing non-fiction books in 2009, broke into fiction in 2010 with the works of Raymond Buckland and S.P. Hendrick. Peter Paddon, publisher, says, “The Demon’s Apprentice is a great example of a tale that not only involves magick, but it takes a serious look at the ethics of magickal practice, and the cost; as traditional crafters say, there is always a coin to pay. . .plus. Ben has crafted a great story that draws the reader in, a tale of metamorphosis of the main character that reminds us that nothing is cut and dried, and that people can change. . .when they really want to.”
The Demon’s Apprentice is the first in a planned series of six Chance Fortunato novels. Chance is at once a normal teenager filled with angst and awkwardness, and a young man scarred by a childhood so bizarre it’s a miracle he isn’t psychotic. Finding himself unexpectedly launched from his paranormal past into a world so normal that it seems surreal to him, Chance realizes that being a good person or an evil one doesn’t just happen; it’s all about choices.
Chance barely makes a start at settling into his new life as a suburban high school student when his teacher, friend, and mentor, Sydney Chomsky, is murdered by what could only have been a mystical creature. As much as he wishes he could ignore the burden, Chance knows in his heart that he is the only one who can track down the murderer. He quickly learns that he can’t go it alone, though, as he discovers dark secrets in every corner of his new life, and forges an unlikely alliance with head cheerleader, Alexis Cooper.
Although the book deals with lofty issues, it’s anything but stodgy and moralistic. Chance is witty and real; readers will find it easy to make a connection with him. Reeder strikes an ideal balance of levity and gravity with a straightforward voice reminiscent of Jim Butcher in his Dresden Files series. The story is filled with spectacular mage duels and brawls and plenty of things catch on fire, which stand in contrast to comfortingly ordinary issues like sibling squabbles and whether or not taking AP classes is the kiss of death to a teen’s social life.
The Demon’s Apprentice is a fresh and much-welcomed addition to the burgeoning young adult market. It’s smart and fast-paced: an engaging read for teens and adults alike.
A portion of the author’s profits for The Demon’s Apprentice will be donated to the A21 campaign, a non-profit organization working to stop human trafficking and sex slavery; help trafficking victims recover; and lobby for tougher penalties against traffickers.
The Demon’s Apprentice will be available from Pendraig Publishing beginning July 31, 2011. Readers can purchase copies in paper and Kindle format at amazon.com, and in paper and Nook format at bn.com. Readers can get a sneak preview of the first chapter on the author’s website.