by Alexander Gordon Smith
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From the author of the Escape from Furnace series, an explosive new horror trilogy about an ordinary American kid caught up in an invisible war against the very worst enemy imaginable.
There is a machine from the darkest parts of history, concealed in an impossible location, that can make any wish come true, and the only price you have to pay is your soul. Known as the Devil’s Engine, this device powers a brutal war between good and evil that will decide the fate of every living thing on Earth. When a 16-year-old asthmatic kid named Marlow Green unwittingly rescues an ass-kicking secret soldier from a demonic attack in the middle of his Staten Island neighborhood, he finds himself following her into a centuries-old conflict between a group of mysterious protectors and the legions of the Devil himself. Faced with superpowers, monsters, machine guns, and a lot worse, Marlow knows it's going to be a breathless ride—and not just because he’s lost his inhaler along the way.
**ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**
That was the trouble with being a hellraiser.
Sometimes you got burned.
I think it goes without saying that I have really branched out on books I’ve read this year. I’ve fallen for crime novels, sci-fi novels, and, most recently, I’ve even fallen for some certain (ahem) steamier NA stories. My point is…I just enjoy reading. So when I was approached to read and review Hellraisers, I was all for it.
You can’t run forever
And that’s not even the best part-I have had this author on my radar for years. His book, Lockdown (look up and see if that’s the name or Escape from the Furnace), has been something I have wanted to try for as long as I can remember. But here’s the thing: It always seemed so scary. And anyone that knows me understands that I don’t do scary. So, needless to say, when I was asked to read this story that didn’t look nearly as terrifying…I was ecstatic.
I’ll find you
I was right to be excited for a chance to read a book by this author: From the first page I was hooked. Marlow’s story wasn’t addicting because he was the strongest, the most badass, the most amazing guy ever-No, his story was addicting in spite of that. Marlow is what you would call a troublemaker, getting kicked out of school after school after school, until now it’s the last straw and he has no where else to go. No friends and a mother who looks at him with eyes sad beyond their years because of how he is putting her through hell, he is desperate to make this final school work….even though he has already been kicked out and any chance of readmission vanished when he fled from the school grounds with a big F-YOU to the principal.
I’ll find you, and you will burn
But after the initial process of escaping a suffocating situation, Marlow slows down and realizes just what he’s done. Where does he have to go to now? What will his mother say? Hardly able to breathe without constant use of his inhaler, he’s hardly an impressive being-in fact, he’s actually a coward: Always running at the first sign of complacency, always becoming the troublemaker when he should be making it work. Marlow is nothing but trouble…but he’s about to see what real trouble looks like….and it’s not a kid with a bad attitude and an inhaler.
”Gonna throw the new dog in the pool? See if it drowns?”
“Call someone a dog too many times,” Marlow said, speaking slowly so he wouldn’t trip over his tongue, “and they might just start to bite.”
Walking into a situation better left in the movies, Marlow finds that he is in over his head. Strange creatures that can morph into about anything and rip your body to shreds in the blink of an eye, he has no clue what to do. A battle raging in front of him and, wait, is that a beautiful girl about to be impaled by one of said monsters?? Who better to be her knight in shining armor than Marlow??? 😉
”He’s clean,” he said. “Holding a pretty big torch for you, though, Pan. Just about all I could see in that simple little excuse for a mind.”
“Wait, no, what?” Marlow spluttered, and Pan turned away before he could see her cheeks boil.
Yes, Folks, believe it or not, Chelsea got her peril and a smidgen of romance. Okay, okay, it’s tentative, but come on! Who doesn’t love something to root for?? He is obsessed with the badass Pan and she…well…she despises him. Too jaded by the aftermath of losing people she has loved, she sees no point in making friends and getting attached, especially to the new loser who they have to lug around everywhere. But as her icy exterior begins to melt, she begins to find a little comfort in his company-He’s a goofball, but he still has a nice, firm shoulder to lean on…
Pan studied him for a moment more and he had the almost overwhelming desire to lean forward and plant his mouth on hers. It would be so easy, she was six inches away, and those lips were so full, slightly open…
“Do it and you die,” she said, reading his mind. She prodded him hard in the forehead and backed away. “Believe me, the Engine is a mean piece of work but I’m worse.”
“Do what?” he said as innocently as he could. “I wasn’t…”
Apparently not one to shy away from gore (YASSSS), Smith excels in creating a truly gruesome atmosphere in which you can’t help but to cringe and go
even though you know it’s coming. Well, that’s a lie, that first splatter of blood had me blinking profusely, making sure I was well and truly seeing what I thought I was reading, Not one to be outmatched by slasher filled horror flicks, Smith impressed me in a way I didn’t think I could be impressed-with blood and destruction. Bravo, Smith, I applaud you. What a pleasant, albeit disgusting, surprise.
I’m not sure what’s to come with this series or where it will go, but I know that I enjoyed every single bit of the journey from page one to the end. I am not easily impressed these days by horror type books, so, to me, this was a complete breath of fresh air. I never once got the feeling I was going to be disappointed or bored with the story, and that is a common occurrence as of late. I loved the play on getting anything you ever wanted at a price…666 hours, to be exact. You get anything in the world you want….but only for that many hours, and then they come to collect.
Marlow smiled nervously at her and she almost felt sorry for him. Almost. The truth was he didn’t know how lucky he was. Right now he was a wheezing, trembling sack of flesh and bone and worry.
And in a few minutes he’d be a god.
And I may have guessed certain events that were going to happen long before they did, but, in a way, that made me happy. I was excited to see my twisted mind went hand in hand with Smith’s twisted mind and, in turn, we were weird twisted minds together. So…there’s that.
So, again, I am over the moon excited that I got asked to read this story and that it was as excellent as it was. It’s not often I adore my ARCs, so to open this up with a smile on my face and end it with an even bigger, more malicious smile on my face was an added bonus. If you are a fan of anything dark or ominous, or even adventurous, I’d venture to say you would probably enjoy this. As for me, I can’t wait to see where it goes next. I quite enjoyed those amazing final chapters. So many amazing possibilities and wonderful directions to go…I only hope my heart can handle it.