Wrestling Demons, as it turns out, is about a high-school wrestler that–wait for it–fights demons.
Not on purpose. Not at first, anyway.
Connor Morgan is a varsity wrestler whose life changes after a strange attack on school grounds. The mystery that follows is a tightly constructed one. One of the good types. I thought for sure I had the actual end figured out. Nope. Point to the author.
Drawing heavily on Japanese mythology, the author demonstrates their commitment to research. Yet, it avoids most of the stereotypes that usually follow. Connor isn’t the “Chosen One,” or the white savior. Connor is part of a team. While that team consists of supporting characters, they all feel indispensable. No one gets left behind, and there was some attention paid to their character development. They still felt like individuals with their own personalities. All their interactions were well-done, and the dialogue never felt clunky.
Despite past occurrences, Connor still has a loving family. Words can’t express how much I loved the dynamic. The implicit trust (and refusal to break said trust). The communication that families should have. It still utilizes the broken family trope, but they’re more cracked than anything. Still held together.
I see what the author was doing with romantic subplot. It served a purpose, and it started promising. The farther along in the narrative it got, the less and less I liked his love interest. Her character was fine. It was the actual interaction and conversations between her and Connor I didn’t like.
Speaking of narrative, Connor does an excellent job of recounting his adventures. The tone was appropriate for his character. Details were where they needed to be. They felt more like passing observations, but still gave the reader a good idea of what was going on. Action scenes were well-written. There wasn’t anything super-elaborate or flowery. It wasn’t all “this happened, then this.” There were no “superpowered” kids that learned Kung-Fu in two weeks. It had a nice pace with excellent attention to continuity. When it came down to wrestling, the author didn’t assume that the reader knew the rules. I learned something from this novel. Always a bonus.
I liked the positive metaphors Wrestling Demons contained. And they were obvious metaphors as well. Nothing too convoluted. Nice and simple. The story ended tied up, neat and clean. There was enough left in place to hint at the possibility of a sequel; something I would very much look forward to.