Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: Hell's Game by Teresa Lo

Hell's Game by Teresa Lo
Published: 2012
Publisher: Stull Printing
Available: Amazon

On Halloween night in Deer Creek, Kansas, Jake Victor, Ashley and Ashton Gemini, and Kristin Grace convince Ronnie Smalls to meet them at the town cemetery, which local folklore has always rumored to be the Gateway to Hell. Their intention was only to scare him, but soon the wicked prank becomes actual horror as the group learns the Gateway is all too real. After demons snatch Ronnie and drag him to Hell, the terrified foursome vow to keep what they had seen a secret.

Two years later, the group receives a mysterious letter, an invite to play a high-stakes game in Hell. If they win, they release Ronnie’s soul as well as their own from eternal damnation. If they lose, they are stuck in Hell forever. Choosing to play, they face nightmare after nightmare as each level escalates in intensity and forces them to face the seven deadly sins.

Inspired by the legends of the Gateway to Hell in Stull, Kansas, Hell’s Game explores the cruelty that teenagers can inflict upon each other as well as the horrors that exist amongst mankind. It is a dark, action-packed young adult novel that will both scare its readers and make them question the true meaning of evil.

Hell's Game is an intense book that examines four friends as they battle Hell for their souls. This book took some really unexpected turns and once the game got going, I couldn't put it down. 

When the four characters were first introduced, they were set up pretty clearly. It was easy to point out the mean, the weak, the sidekick, and the jock, and I thought from there that the rest of the story would be predictable. Boy was I wrong. Not one of my predictions was right. Hell's Game is about challenging each of their characters, making them face their worst fears, and push past the traits that have held them back. And this is what made the story so unpredictable.

The game itself was really well developed. The levels of the game were influenced by the characters personalities and backgrounds, and they really challenged the beliefs and values of each character. Each level was a detailed picture of hell, and I loved that the rules of each level depended on how the character responded to it. 

There was an issue with the editing in this book and it occasionally pulled me out from the story as name swaps and missing words caused me to be confused at times. I think it would definitely benefit from another round of edits.

This is a good choice if you're looking for a bit of a scare, especially around Halloween.

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