Thrall by Jennifer Quintenz is a zesty and very enjoyable YA paranormal novel. The opening seems a little conventional. We meet teenager Braedyn, bright and gutsy but a bit of a social misfit, against the usual background of American high school with the moody beauties and aloof good looking guys. However, suddenly a handsome new neighbour, Lucas, arrives on the scene and sticks up for her at school. Up to now there’d always been just Dad and Braedyn. He’s never talked much about her mother, whom Braedyn never knew, despite her thousands of questions. But suddenly circumstances change and Dad is forced to tell Braedyn the truth. This is where the author stops teasing us and shows what an original novel she’s created. Suddenly Braedyn learns that there are humans and hunters and guards and Lilitu, demons, in the world, and she’s very, very involved in all this. The crucial question for her now is can a demon ever turn out good? Can a demon ever become human? She has to find out.
This is very much a character-driven story with plenty of action and fast-paced, authentic dialogue. Braedyn, like her friends, and enemies, is a typical modern kid, a little more complicated than most, but ready and able to face up to massive challenges. She develops throughout the novel, as do all the other main figures. Dad, Murphy, moves from shadowy parent to a strong leader, and Lucas becomes way more than the boy next door. Events twist and turn and keep us all guessing in this well thought-out story. And good news – it’s only the start of a series!