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Literary Braun

Review: The Devil's Engine: Hellraisers

If I ever find myself needing inspiration for a horror story, one of my go-to authors is Alexander Gordon Smith. His work is explosive, exciting, creepy, and absolutely thrilling Not to mention gory as hell. I loved his Escape from Furnace series (and if you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?!), and he excels again with his new trilogy. The first book, The Devil's Engine: Hellraisers, is virtually nonstop action from start to finish, a wild, creative ride that leaves you breathless and desperate for more. Definitely a book to pick up if you haven't already. 


Badass cover where you can almost feel the evilness of the Engine.


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.


The book starts from two very different perspectives– the first being Marlow's, as he makes it clear that he's a troublemaker with no direction, too busy drawing "rockets" on his principal's car hood. I admit, that made me laugh pretty hard. The other perspective is from the a young woman named Pan the Hellraisers, a group of men and women who have supernatural abilities they use to fight demons. 


The abilities come from a messed up device called the Devil's Engine. I won't go into details about how it works, but suffice to say that the name should give you some hints. The rules, mythology, and world that have been created are exciting and unique. While it's not as deep as the Furnace series (yet anyway), the complexity is obvious. This is not a machine you tamper with lightly, and the consequences of doing so are alarmingly severe. I can't wait to learn more about the Engine in future novels.


The characters are fantastic. Marlow is a great lead, a young man whose identity struggles are realistic and understandable. He's not a stereotypical hero, but he's not a bad person. I genuinely enjoyed reading about his mistakes, and the lengths he went to make them right. He's not perfect, but who wants a Mary Sue? 


Speaking of characters who know no bounds at getting the job done, Pan is awesome. Stone cold bitch to be sure, but she's seriously kick-ass. Tough as nails, but alarmingly vulnerable as the weight of their duty becomes heavier and heavier.


This is not a book for the faint of heart. As mentioned before, one of the things I love about Alexander Gordon Smith's work is the level of violence and gore. He's a master at painting vivid, bloody pictures that made even me cringe. And if you think he's going to take it easy on you when he describes the demons and the monstrosity in the final battle? Think again! 


The Devil's Engine: Hellraisers is seriously badass. One of the wildest books I've read this year. I hated having to go to work and put it down. Once you start, you won't want to stop for anything. So pick it up and start reading it now. No contract with a machine from Hell required!