Remember how amazing Jana Oliver’s The Demon Trapper’s Daughter was? And then we had Soul Thief, which sounded great but was really like just holding your breath for 300 pages waiting for something to happen (while wanting to smack Riley in the face a la Bella Swan)? I mean, there’s tension, and then there’s just, “You’re losing me, Jana!” Know what I mean? (Spoilers ahead.)

Well, Forgiven, the third trappers book, almost takes us back to badass Riley and her ultimate awesomeness, and I am starting to see where Oliver is going with this shadow of Riley. After her father’s death, her near-death experiences (and nearly bagging a Three by herself only to have it stolen and she, herself, threatened), and Simon almost dying—not to mention the burden on her shoulders—she’s in an obviously vulnerable state.

No more of this “Trapper scores!” hot chocolate drinker; now she is just lonely and in need of some unconditional love. I only wish that had been made a little more evident in the previous book, as it just felt like her coasting along.

Book three details how Riley indeed prevents the Apocalypse, and we get to see her be strong and brave almost to the scale she once was. I think her losses have simply caught up with her, however, because in many instances she just doesn’t even want to fight. She is not the Blackthorne’s daughter we were initially introduced to. And by the end of the book, she faces one of the ultimate betrayals—not to mention Beck’s double standard disapproval.

In this third book, we still have some of that ghost-of-Riley-ness in book two. We have a Riley who is reluctant to even catch demons, a girl who asks for help and whose boldness seems lost. I am crossing my fingers so hard to hope that book four Riley isn’t the book two (and partly book three) whiny girl who just wants a boy to love her. (I fear that it will be Beck-fawning rather than Simon-fawning, unfortunately.) I understand it—I’ve felt it before and made mistakes like Riley, so I understand the theme—but I really miss our ultimate heroine demon trapper!

I think part of the reason I loved the first book so much was that the romance was completely secondary—even tertiary—to the story of an awesome teen demon trappin’ girl. I hope that book four brings that back full circle. I still love Riley—and I like Beck on his good days—and I want to see her become who she was meant to be.