Johnny's Reviews > Hell and the Hunger

Hell and the Hunger by Mike   Reynolds
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did not like it
bookshelves: own-it

** spoiler alert ** I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

This is the first book I won in a Goodreads Giveaway, so I owe it a more elaborate review than I usually write. This means it also contains heavy spoilers, so beware!

I entered this giveaway because vampire stories have always interested me. I’m a big fan of “The Vampire Chronicles” by Anne Rice and the “Anita Blake” series by Laurell K. Hamilton. I’ve even tried to write a vampire story myself, but didn’t get far.

So a new vampire story was a very welcome gift. But, even if you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, I didn't like this one.

“Hell and the Hunger” starts promisingly, but soon it becomes something far more than a vampire story. At times I thought the story was becoming “too large” for this book. We have this vampire named Joe, who we learn is actually the cursed half of the Old Testament brothers, Cain and Abel. Then we go from the mythological story of the vampire to a religiously tinted, Apocalypse-type story involving actual angels and demons, because not only is Joe actually Cain, he’s also in fact Lucifer, thrown to earth by the archangel Michael and trapped in the real Cain’s body. But Lucifer isn’t leading the army of demons, no, that job is left for somebody called Izidaru, which turns out to be Lucifer's son, helped by a handful of other evil henchmen (including a character named Hannibal riding a giant elephant, and a long cameo by none other than Vlad the Impaler), and Lucifer is actually preventing him from defeating the angels and conquering the world.

Are you still with me? Good.

Even with such a plot that seems to be all over the place, the overall writing in the book is quite decent. The book does read like an episode of that TV show “Supernatural”, or better yet it reads as a graphic novel where normally all the action is shown in the drawings, but here it is all described in text. Not brilliant writing but there are a few nice quotes in the piece:

"The fairest of the fair were ill prepared to deal with all of the lust and anger and hate that the foulest of Hell brought to wreak upon them."
"You were right about this place. I feel things I cannot describe. It is like there is an empty hole inside of me, eating at me. What is that?"
"An eternity of suffering is worth the brief moment in time that I spent loving and being loved."

But reading the book could have gone a lot more easier if there weren’t so many problems with punctuation. Missing commas, commas where there shouldn’t be any, dialogue punctuation that’s off, capital letters following dialogue, some weird apostrophe usage … It pulled me out of the book completely and seriously detracted from the continuous reading experience. Also several typos (like “led” instead of “lead” ; and I’m talking about the metal, not a different conjugation of the verb “to lead”), missing articles (like “a” or “the”) and even missing personal pronouns, and halfway through the book I realized there was a recurring word that was really becoming a thing: the word “though”.

The entire piece could have done with just one more proof reader.

The character that really made this book for me, was close to retirement cop Steve Huft. The scene where he single-handedly slaughters an army of demons is both unbelievable and excellent. I have no idea how he actually does it, but the fact that he does it is just plain awesome. His story and the epilogue formed the best part of the book.

The love story which the blurb promised, just doesn't deliver. Even when Evelyn gets an amazing introduction ("Her hair was black as a starless night, yet it shined as if moonbeams had been trapped in it") soon she goes through similar transformations as does Joe, turning into Lilith and some other species of heavenly being capable of amazing feats - culminating in freezing the entire universe so the earth would stop revolving so there could be an eternal night for the angels and demons to fight in. The explanation of these powers is actually very satisfying.

If only this book was less focused on the action packed fighting scenes and more on storytelling.
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Reading Progress

November 12, 2014 – Started Reading
November 12, 2014 – Shelved
November 12, 2014 – Shelved as: own-it
November 18, 2014 – Finished Reading

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