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Hell by John Prescott
It’s been a few years since Trez and his allies settled in the town of Shaleford, CO and they’ve managed to make a comfortable life for themselves in the middle of the end times described in the book of Revelations, but as they make plans for the next stage in their fight, Samouel Gallo, the Antichrist himself, makes his own plans, plans that will further consolidate his power over the world. Book 2 in The Revelation Chronicles.
I often wonder if my undead brethren would side with the Antichrist or not. I mean, with Hell author John Prescott shows us an Antichrist that lets his more unnatural children feed on a regular basis, so I imagine he’d let any undead followers feed as well. Here’s the thing though, he also tells these creatures when not to feed, and we zombies aren’t very good with authority. We don’t really like to be told what we can and can’t do, so I don’t think we’d get along with the guy very well, especially if he told us not to feed. It’s not that we can’t control ourselves at all, we have a somewhat limited self-control but self-control regardless, we just hate being told what to do. Our unions are a mess for that fact alone, no one wants to listen. If the Antichrist told us not to feed we’d most likely feed just to spite the guy. Plus, his having ties to the Devil is just going to sour most zombies, none of us really care for Big Red. He throws some great parties, with some of the best musicians under his thrall too, but he’s always going on and on about destroying the world, and subjugating humanity, and blah, blah, blah. We don’t really care about that, we just like to eat people. Anyways, my introspective into zombie Antichrist relations aside, why don’t we get into the book that made me consider it in the first place.
The world has become a very different place since our small group of Christians made their home in the mountains of Shaleford. While Trez, Roxi, Aeris, Gene, and all the others set up a network to watch events unfold in the outside world with the help of married techies Lindsay and Eric, a series of events have devastated an already turbulent world. Several cities across the globe have been nuked in a retaliatory strike by the leader of the world Samouel Gallo, meteors have slammed into the planet, devastating the land and turning the seas a blood red that kills everything in the impact site’s vicinity, and a virulent plague has devastated the people. To make matters worse, not only are werewolves and fairy like creatures becoming more prevalent, a massive dragon like creature named Apollyon has arisen from its resting place at the behest of Gallo, intent on scorching the world at his master’s bidding. It’s in this unstable time that Trez has been given a very important mission, to kill the Antichrist, namely Samouel Gallo. In order to do this he needs the legendary Spear of Destiny, the very spear that pierced the side of Christ as he died on the cross, and he’s going to need the help of his friends to get it. Roxi and her Nephilim husband Aeris have been scouting the old Vatican (now home to the New World Church) in order to steal the Spear from its vaults, but with the birth of their child things only become that much more complicated. As Trez’s group makes plans for the Antichrist’s demise and their ensuing relocation to a new home base they are unaware that Samouel has his own plans, and those plans may put an end to the group of Christians once and for all if he has his way.
John Prescott has once again taken the Book of Revelations and created an immersive read that sucked me in from beginning to end. Just like with his first entry in the Revelation Chronicles, I could not put the book down once I started reading it. Every chapter left me wanting to read the next one, another book where “just one more chapter” becomes ten chapters or more. I just became so engrossed in the story that it was hard to pull myself away and there’s a few reasons for this.
One is the amazing story. There is a lot that comes straight from the Book of Revelations (a terrifying piece of the written word in and of itself) but just like with Pray, you don’t have to be versed in Biblical lore to be able to understand what’s going on. Most of the story is straight from the mind of Prescott, though based on Revelations, and anytime he does use something that is directly from Revelations he is sure to explain it so the reader isn’t left in the dark. Hell also never lets you stay very comfortable which keeps the reader in an “edge of your seat” mode. Every time you start to feel secure with the story, it takes a sharp turn and you are left with your jaw hanging open at what just happened, expect quite a few surprises that you’ll never see coming. It was the unexpectedness that made it so hard to put the book down. Nothing was predictable so I never knew what was coming and constantly had to keep going to find out. The story was so amazingly well written that I couldn’t help but love it, even its darker aspects (and trust me, there are some dark things in this book.)
Another reason was the characters. One of the things that impressed me so much with the first story, something that is always important to me in any story, were the characters. They were so realistic and so well fleshed out that I ended up caring for them as if they were real people and not just characters in a story. I think one of the greatest ways I can explain how well written his characters are is in describing my reaction to the death of two of them in particular. I won’t say who they were because I don’t want to ruin it for the reader, but I actually found myself yelling “No” out loud upon their deaths as if I had actually just watched them die right before me. I think that really sums up how much Prescott makes you care for his characters. And then there’s the Antichrist himself, Samouel Gallo. If you read my review for Pray you know that despite him being basically the most evil man on the planet, he was written to still be a likable guy and I thought this was great as the Antichrist is supposed to be someone the people would love. That continues here but what I liked is that as the book progresses you’ll find that likability slowly fading. There isn’t a snap where he’s suddenly too evil for you to even consider as a favorite, it’s a slow progress that was well done. The love of his “best friend” and confidant Franco was an fascinating aspect as well. The man refuses to see Samouel for what he is no matter what and will do literally anything for him, becoming a rather important figure himself eventually.
Lastly there was the more supernatural characters that made Hell a great read. There’s the werewolves who are completely subservient to Samouel, willing to do anything their master orders of them. There’s the vampire Alberto and his never ending hunger for blood, a hunger that never seems sated no matter how much he feeds. This disgusting creature in particular will make your stomach knot and get you physically angry with the things he’s capable of doing. There’s the small, flying insect like creatures that tear and rend the flesh of men. There’s the varying and awesomely described angels of death who damn the non-believers. And finally there’s my favorite, Apollyon, the Lord of the Abyss. Apollyon is a giant, demonic, dragon like creature under the control of Samouel. He can burn entire cities in only moments, ending the lives of thousands in seconds. Not only is his description something that would truly terrify anyone but his relationship to Samouel is interesting. Samouel has control over him but the beast doesn’t entirely enjoy being the Antichrist’s puppet and so won’t go easily. Controlling Apollyon take a great toll on Samouel and he’s always physically drained after forcing the creature to do his bidding. Why this was interesting is that it really showed Apollyon’s power. Samouel is the Antichrist, one of the most powerful people on the planet, given total control over the darker entities of this Earth but even he has trouble controlling Apollyon because the beast is so powerful.
Hell is a great follow up to Pray and I can’t wait till the third and final book is released. Hell wraps up its storyline rather well while leaving things open for the next installment. In fact, Prescott gives us a juicy little bit right at the end (no skipping, you wouldn’t understand it anyway) that really hypes up the anticipation for things to come. All in all, Hell is one great read