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.
I really regret reading this book at night time, there's some pretty creepy scenes and after finishing it at like four in the morning I was not able to sleep. I should have guessed a book called Hell's Game may be a bit scary, so I seriously should have thought before reading it at night. The cover even says "A young adult horror novel" so I should have known... GAH!
Overall, the book was pretty awesome but at some points it started to lose my attention. I kind of split it into thirds; the first part was my favorite part, it grabbed me quickly, kept me on my toes with suspense and introduces us to the characters quickly, there were some pretty scary bits and I love that this part had the supernatural horror aspect about it but it also demonstrates how horrible teens can be and the desperation of outcasts to get into the 'in group'. The second bit was quite slow for me because there wasn't that much aspect, here the group are reintroduced to us as changed characters but because we don't really see this change happen gradually some of the characters just seemed like completely new people, we also see the characters get their invitations to Hell's Game and this bit is where it picked up again.
The third part of the book is Hell's Game, this was a bit of a mix for me. we get to learn what made the characters the people that they are. Some parts of this bit were full of action and suspense and kept me absolutely gripped but some parts really lost me, I guess I was expecting Hell's Game to be much more scary and pacy but for me some bits let the rest down.
As I said above, I really liked the characters, but the fact that we go from seeing them at 17/18 to 19/20 and don't follow them during this gap means that some of the more changed characters like Jake and Kristin didn't seem like the same character as in the high school years. I didn't really like Kristin in the first part but loved her spunky older version, Jake bored me a little to be honest. Ashley was my favorite character, despite me disliking her so much at the start simply because she grows so much as a person in the book.
Overall, a good book with a great storyline and some good characters. The downfalls are the inconsistent characters and pacing.
Overall Rating: C+
Book released 2012 by Stull Publishing
Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review