Thursday, August 2, 2012

Enter The Gateway and Play Hell's Game

Teresa Lo I thank you for sending me this intriguing read. I thought I had an idea of what I was getting into when starting this but I received so much more from this book then I was expecting. Teresa Lo manages to spin such a devilish web of suspense around her characters that you can’t put the book down. Hell’s Game is written so well that as you read you envision it as a movie and I feel lovers of horror film would appreciate a book that plays homage to the genre. She includes such great detail that a particular scene and character in the book severely grossed me out, but in a good way! Excuse me for a moment while I shutter just thinking of it.



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.

There are so many great characters in this book it’s hard to pick the best. They each have something to offer in the story. I can start with poor Ronnie, my god I hate to say it but so many kids could identify with him. His story of being bullied unfortunately is not anything that has been exterminated from humanity. He isn’t in the book very much but Teresa Lo makes sure when he is, his presence is stamped in strong. His entire story shattered my heart.  

Kristen was the character that I was most interested in only because I couldn’t identify with her. Wait, this isn’t a bad thing. It’s something that gives Hell’s Game its strength. As a reader I was taken into a totally different perspective regarding her embarrassment from her mother. For a character that I felt had a kind heart, it was surprising to read that Kristen was ashamed of her mother because of her ethnicity. I do realize that this may actual happen from time to time but have never seen it from a character like Kristen. She was however very captivating and believable when her warrior side came out.

Ashley is conceded, outspoken and judgmental and she was probably my favorite surprisingly. Her and her twin brother Ashton’s story is so utterly sad and awful you have no choice but to appreciate them as people. I think their story gives a reverse perspective of the very people that bully. Teresa Lo shows that no one can really escape the evil humanity is capable of.

Eric who serves as the characters guide through the game was my most favorite part of the entire book. Even though he isn’t a player in the game like the others he was so fascinating and mysterious. Anytime he shows up you don’t know if the players can trust him. I think when Teresa Lo describes his moments alone is when you can really see him and how torn he is in the situation he’s been placed. I absolutely love it when an author can hide such a great secret like Eric. I didn’t realize he was my favorite until the very end of the book.

Hell’s Game is an enticingly wicked summer read. It’s a thrilling story with just the right amount of horror that will actually make you contemplate humanity. If you are a fan of movies like Final Destination, Seven, Trick or Treat, or Drag Me To Hell then this might be your next read for the summer. So, are you game?

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