Tuesday, December 1, 2015

ARC Review: Hellraisers by Alexander Gordon Smith

Title: Hellraisers (The Devil's Engine, #1)
Author: Alexander Gordon Smith
Published: December 1st 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult
Rating: 3 Stars
When a sixteen-year-old troublemaker named Marlow Green is trapped in a surreal firefight against nightmarish creatures in the middle of his New York City neighborhood, he unwittingly finds himself amid a squad of secret soldiers dedicated to battling the legions of the devil himself.

Powering this army of young misfits is an ancient machine from the darkest parts of history. Known as the devil's engine, it can make any wish come true-as long as you are willing to put your life on the line. Promised powers beyond belief, and facing monstrous apparitions straight out of the netherworld, Marlow must decide if he's going to submit to a demonic deal with the infernal machine that will enable him to join the crusade-if it doesn't kill him first.

From the author of the Escape from Furnace series, here is the opening salvo in an explosive new horror trilogy about an ordinary American kid caught up in an invisible war against the very worst enemy imaginable.

My Thoughts
Let me start by saying I'm a big fan of Smith's Furnace series so I was thrilled to find Hellraisers on NetGalley. I love me some gore and this one did not disappoint but I'm still having a difficult time deciding whether I really liked this or am just completely meh about it. The synopsis pretty much sums up exactly what does happen in this book and it was quite confusing trying to figure out what the Devil's Engine was and how it worked, and then trying to understand who the soldiers and such were until we finally received a crash course about everything when Marlow did.

I love to read anything with a male POV so that was a plus and Marlow was a pretty likable character. He screws up a good bit of course, runs from most responsibility, and has a crappy home life but deep down he's a good kid thrown into a crazy mess. Pan was a firecracker, strong and kick-ass but sometimes you wanted to slap her but once you find out her backstory you get why she could be so cold and harsh. Herc, Truck, and Night were an interesting lot too. There were also plenty of creeps and baddies, I can't decide if Hanson will end up a bad guy or not and Mammon was came across as pretty evil, although he wasn't in the book much.

Overall, Hellraisers was a decent and pretty quick read. I love Smith's writing and it's easy to get sucked into the story. Granted, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would but it has an interesting story to it and after that cliffhanger I need to know what happens next. So, if you're a fan of blood and gore, devilish creatures and tough characters then you should give Hellraisers a try.

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About the Author
Alexander Gordon Smith is the author of the Escape from Furnace series of young adult novels, including Lockdown and Solitary. Born in 1979 in Norwich, England, he always wanted to be a writer. After experimenting in the service and retail trades for a few years, Smith decided to go to University. He studied English and American Literature at the University of East Anglia, and it was here that he first explored his love of publishing. Along with poet Luke Wright, he founded Egg Box Publishing, a groundbreaking magazine and press that promotes talented new authors. He also started writing literally hundreds of articles, short stories and books ranging from Scooby-Doo comic strips to world atlases, Midsomer Murders to X-Files. The endless research for these projects led to countless book ideas germinating in his head. His first book, The Inventors, written with his nine-year-old brother Jamie, was published in the U.K. in 2007. He lives in England.

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