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The Ninth Circle

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  578 ratings  ·  79 reviews
A man comes to on the floor of a shabby apartment in the middle of Budapest. His head is glued to the floorboards with his own blood. There's a fortune in cash on the kitchen table. And he has no idea where, or who, he is. He can do extraordinary things—speak any number of languages fluently, go three days without food or sleep, and fight with extraordinary prowess. But wi ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 17th 2008 by Gollancz
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3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  578 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Lisa *OwlBeSatReading*
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror
Wow! I really enjoyed this. An imaginatively twisted yarn about good vs evil. Alex Bells writing style is easy to follow, with likeable characters (even the horrid ones!) and lots of questions getting answered along the way. I prefer it when the plot unfolds at a steady pace without everything being jammed into the last few pages or chapters. I shall look out for more from this author.
May 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
In the city of Budapest a man wakes up in a kitchen, his face stuck to the floor with dried blood. He has no idea of who he is, only that he apparently fell and hit his head while putting up shelves and that on a nearby table there is a box filled with a large amount of cash. According to papers he finds in the apartment his name is Gabriel Antaeus but other than that he knows nothing about himself or how he came to be there.

The Ninth Circle begins with a setup that would do justice to any tradi
Apr 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: It depends
I loved this book! I think everybody knows what happens when you love a book, it's really hard to put the feelings into words in a review. So hang in there!

Looking back, the summary on the back on the book was very vague and didn't give away anything so I'm not going to add anything else to it because it's more exciting~

Gabriel wakes up in a shabby flat to find blood on the floor where his head used to be. A horrible gash is in his head and a bag full of Hungarian florints (100,000 pounds) on t
Jun 02, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: angels, 2000s, amnesia, fantasy
This book starts out rather promisingly, with a dude name Gabriel waking up with no memory of who he is but with weird things happening all around him. The opening’s got a bit of a “Castiel with amnesia fic” vibe to it, which made me very excited for obvious, dorky reasons. Unfortunately, Gabriel, unlike Castiel, is an idiot—his efforts to find out who he is and what’s going on are pitiful; apparently he’d rather spent his time whining and moping. Thus the narrative swiftly becomes an exercise i ...more
Sep 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, books-i-own
I started off being very intrigued by Gabriel and his identity and THE FISH but eventually my wonder tapered off. Mephistopheles was one of the better reveals, where gabriel's own past fell flat. Likewise, the ending didn't recapture me, though it did tie the knots and present a conclusion.
Mar 14, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 03, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Oh, I was not keen on this one. The blurb made it sound really interesting, at least the first half - mysterious people plus angels plus demons sounds like the sort of thing I would gobble down in a heartbeat! And yet this... This felt like a slog. I kept picking it up resentfully, muttering about how I didn't want to read it, I'm not enjoying it - the only reason I did finish it was because it had been on my to-read list for years.

‘What rubbish!’ I protested. ‘Good and evil are opposites.’
‘No, not really,’ Stephomi said mildly. ‘Hot and cold are opposites, but haven’t you ever touched something so scalding that for a moment you think it’s freezing? When you get to extremes, the brain confuses the two, can’t process them properly, mixes them up. Or perhaps it’s just that they’re really not all that different to begin with.’ p 122

Alex Bell’s The Ninth Circle has the reader treading the thin line between sanity and insanity
Yolanda Sfetsos
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dark-fantasy
I found this book intoxicating. A story that intrigued me with the concept and then compelled me with every new turn of the page.

I loved that this book was drenched in a layer of bizarre strangeness, and an air of darkness that surrounds Gabriel's story from the very beginning. So many times I found myself wondering if what was happening to him was a dream, a nightmare, or some sort of delusional episode brought on by the confusion he faces every single day.

As hard as I tried to solve the myster
Kathleen Dixon
Jan 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It must have been my son who recommended this book to me as it is totally his type of story. The style of writing, with the extremely "present" voice of the narrator - and by that I mean that, though he is telling what has happened in the form of a diary, he writes not what happened in the past but how he is recalling in the present what happened - makes it very punchy.

We also have the battle between good and evil, and the massive blurring there is in the mythologies of God, the Devil, angels &a
May 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
This novel covers similar ground to Dan Brown's books: an age old battle between good and evil framed within a Christian cosmology, cryptic messages that need to be deciphered, angels and demons walking the streets. But it's a bit more left-field.

It starts off quite well - a man wakes up in an apartment in Budapest, his face glued to the floor by his own dried blood, a huge bundle of money on the kitchen table - but the plot never really goes anywhere. Yes, there are a series of revelations tha
Aug 06, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is like a man, in by such it gets you really excited, anxious, and teases you and FINALLY....drops the ball! Flat and disappointed about the finale. Such a dud. Is there going to be a follow-up for this book? I mean the yes, the character finally had some development after rambling about damn fish food for like 5 flippin' chapters. Kudos for him. HOWEVER...was there any development to the storyline? I was left feeling more robbed than paying $12 for a movie ticket. 9th Circle indeed, i ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I borrowed this book from a good friend far too long ago, and I am mortified that I have neglected to return it. I loved this book from beginning to end. The first chapter is captivating, which I need when starting a new book, and it held a looming mysterious feeling throughout. I love books that open your mind to new possibilities of heaven and earth and how the two can intertwine and I think bell did an amazing job.
Huh. I'm not really sure what to make of this, but I can tell you one thing: I did not see the ending coming! Did I like the ending? That I'm still not sure about, but I think I'll be thinking about it for a while.
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
It was very atmospheric, very absorbing, for a moment I felt transported into the pages... I loved it...
I want to travel to Budapest now...
Beth (bibliobeth)
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic debut novel by Alex Bell, couldn't put it down. Read it!!!
Branwen *of House Targaryen*
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Love this story! It's super creepy with alot of religious mythology which adds even more tension and eeriness to the tale.
Jun 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I found this to be a little predictable, however I enjoyed reading it.
Adam Whitehead
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Ninth Circle is a mystery written in the form of diary entries by the protagonist, Gabriel Antaeus, after he wakes up one morning in Budapest, Hungary, with amnesia. As the story unfolds Antaeus uncovers clues as to his former life and meets people who knew him from before. Gradually he puts together the pieces, and the picture that emerges becomes increasingly disturbing.

This is the debut novel by British author Alex Bell, completed whilst she was still at university. For a debut novel, thi
Boy Blue
Jul 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fan
The idea had promise. The execution took that promise and broke it slowly on a rack for the entire length of the book.

Picked it up at a book fair. I had just been to Budapest so was keen to read something set there and the blurb sounded interesting. Shouldn't have done that.

The description of the city was ok but the book should be confined to the ninth circle of hell because of the truly boring main character. The promise of the blurb is that he's possibly an angel. He ends up being as dumb as
Holly York
Jul 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Fairly well-executed story in a genre of its own (Mystical religious thriller?).
I loved all the details from religion and demonology, it spurred a highly entertaining afternoon on Wikipedia (where I learned Lucifer supposedly has a demon in charge of his wardrobe . His wardrobe!).

At times it came across as a bit hysterical, mainly because the protagonist has trouble controlling his emotions and not getting himself in all kinds of trouble. At other times he was frustratingly thick-headed. The end
-twisted. makes you think you've figured it out, then changes everything. repeatedly.

"at times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." - albert schweitzer.

"this is not right. monsters should look like monsters; they should not be allowed to wander round among other people in such a flawless disguise."

"children were never really my thing, you know. all that screaming."
Took a while to get through but I am going through a reading slump. Finding it difficult to concentrate while reading. I was intrigued along the way to find out the mystery behind this story but was disappointed.
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Angel and demon, who came for my soul-
Rute Canhoto
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was ok
I found the plot and direction of the story telegraphed from the outset. The twist provided by Gabriel’s amnesia was only mildly surprising. I found the writing to be adequate in most places, somewhat less than acceptable in a few others and a few startling gems scattered in there for good measure.

The story is easy to read although if you’re not after an alternative theology lesson or a brush up on bible class, then I’d give this tale a wide berth.

I agree with Chuck on the setting, and was disap
Fraser Sim
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was interesting and…easy, taking me only a handful of hours to read.

The blurb on the front cover says "haunting, engrossing".

The blurb is wrong.

This is not haunting...the best word I can use is 'cute'. And whilst I read it fairly quickly it was too clichéd and predictable to be engrossing.

By far the best section of the book is the beginning. Gabriel wakes up with no memories and we follow him for a third of the book as he tries to figure out who he was before. This is done well and it wa
Jul 02, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, review-books
Reading THE NINTH CIRCLE was a weird experience and that's not just because the subject matter dipped into the supernatural very quickly.

THE NINTH CIRCLE is partly a mystery and partly fantasy. When Gabriel wakes up on his own floor he has no idea who he is, where he is, or where the money came from. He does have some memories of how to function, how to feed himself, how to go out and slowly discover the more intimate details of his life - it's like his own personal past has been knocked out, ye
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
This book started off so promising, aside from the sort of whole amnesia cliche. But with the way it's written - in journal format - the beginning of the book reads like watching a slow descent into madness, and it was really cool.

And then it was kind of about his loneliness and desperation to connect with other people, mingled with his feelings of fear and vulnerability because of his lost past.

But then things which were possibly bits of insanity started becoming literal, and it sort of descend
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Alex Bell was born in 1986. She always wanted to be a writer but had several different back-up plans to ensure she didn’t end up in the poor house first. For some years these ranged from dolphin trainer to animal shelter vet but then, at fifteen, she had an epiphany involving John and Robert Kennedy and decided to become a lawyer instead.

To that end she eagerly started a Law Degree only to find it
“Believe it or not, some of us have piercings and tattoos and dye our hair because we think it looks pretty, not for any deep sociological reason. This isn't an act of protest against cultural or social repression. It's not a grand, deliberately defiant gesture against capitalists or feminists or any other social group. It's not even the fashion equivalent to sticking two fingers up at the world. The boring truth of it, Gabriel, is that I don't dress like this to hurt my parents or draw attention to myself or make a statement. I just do it because I think it looks nice. Disappointed?” 69 likes
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