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This book was recommended to me by a friend quite a while ago and I actually own two copies of it; I bought a copy from a charity shop then forgot about it and bought another copy in Border's closing down sale!
I'd never heard of Sam Enthoven before reading this but now I'm definitely going to keep any eye out for any other books he's written.
The blurb says:
"The creature had reared up in its true form, a frozen man-sized explosion of pink custard-like stuff. It wobbled and shook. Big bubbles formed and popped on its skin, belching out words.
'Fresh!' it burped, 'Fresh meat! Fresh meat!'
'Whatever,' said Jack - and sighed. Yep, he thought, gang up on the new guy. In some ways, when it came down to it, Hell was pretty predictable..."
The front cover also entices you in with this interesting phrase:
Hellish demons, vomiting bats, world-class martial arts - what *more* do you want in a book?
And that phrase does sum it up very well! It's definitely a book for older children/teenagers and I think it's mainly aimed at boys but as a girl I still thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that it only took me about 4 hours to finish! And not because it's a small book either, it's about 480 pages long.
The basic story is this:
Jack and Charlie are two ordinary boys but somehow Charlie always seems to be much cooler than Jack. After meeting some strange cult-like people, Charlie wakes up with a black tattoo on his back and various abilities like Kung-Fu and flying! Once again, he's beaten Jack on the coolness scale! Until Jack learns that his friend is actually possessed by a demon and it'll take a trip to hell to sort it all out.
The book is written in the third person and mainly from Jack's point of view. He's just a typical teenager and really not the sort of person you'd expect to be a hero at all.
I really liked Enthoven's vision of Hell and the universe in general; his description made Hell sound like an awful but very realistic place. Well, as realistic as any fantasy place can be!
And I knew the book would have a happy ending but I had no idea how it was going to happen - I didn't find the book predictable.
Overall this book held my attention right to the end with the fantastic characters that I could empathise with (some of Jack's lines about things being "typical!" reminded me of myself) and a strong storyline that entertained and amused me. And I can't fault the writing style in anyway either!
The RRP is £5.99 and you can currently get it from Amazon for £4.49 (ISBN: 0552553581).