Milly returns home to find out her mum, a famous opera singer has been taken over by something evil and they’re coming for her next. Enter Slay – international superstar boyband by day, demon hunters by night. Teenage heartthrobs JD, Tom, Niv, Zek and Connor rescue Milly, but learn that this isn’t just any old demon that has possessed Milly’s mum, it’s the priestess of an ancient Aztec god who wants to bring about the end of the world. And only Slay, their manager Gail, and Milly can save the day…
I picked up Slay on the off-chance it would be a fun, fast-paced read and that’s exactly what I got – and I adored it for it. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Supernatural, but aimed at the younger teen end of the Young Adult novel market. There’s a lot of darkness in the book, what with all the talk of demonic possession, but it’s sort of some how funny and light-hearted; even the will-they-won’t-they between Milly and a member of Slay is more PG than the typical exploits of rock ’n’ roll bands. I genuinely laughed aloud (in a coffee shop) at the reverse arm wrestling scene, and the book is peppered with little moments like this.
This is the first of Kim Curran’s novels that I’ve read, but she writes in such a way that feels comfortable and familiar. The book has minimal description with more of the focus on action, which I’ve found tends to be a familiar writing style in younger novels I’ve read. That said, Milly is a likeable character, at times she feels a little too familiar and so do some of the personality traits of the boyband members, but they’re given vulnerabilities which stop them being too much of a character trope.
There’s also a really great sense of camaraderie within the group, friendship is definitely a strong theme of the story. Whilst it might take some time, Milly fits right in with the group – finding ways to relate to the group, like being able to sign with the mute member of the group who previously only communicated with his twin brother. That said, the twins are so often mentioned together that I still can’t remember which one is which (although I hope we get to read more of their backstory).
There is due to be a second novel, published towards the end of the year, but Slay has a real sense of being something which could easily be a series of stories, following the band as their pop-up concerts take them round the world as a cover for chasing demons. There’s also a real cinematic quality to it – I could definitely see it being a Netflix series. That said, whilst there’s clearly room for more stories, Slay stands alone as a standalone book too, something which I very much appreciate.
Slay was exactly the kind of book I wanted it to be – fun, laugh-aloud and never takes itself too seriously.
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