I received a digital copy of this novel from the author free of charge, in exchange for an honest review. This fact didn’t influence my opinion in any way.
The plot of this one is set in Hell, presented as a mixture of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno and Hades from ancient Greece. There are several circles of Hell, populated by the Fallen (demons) imps, their servants, Elders, who rule in Limbo, Plutus and much much more. Limbo is also a place where you can meet Aristotle, the only dweller who ventures to lower parts of Hell, often illegally, writing travel journals afterwards. Aristotle is helped by a young boy, Socius, saved by him from Whirpool. One day Aristotle is said that Azza, the leader of Fallen, sent a messenger after a fugitive being. Curious Aristotle goes to Hall of Minos to find out more about it; he is mutilated and then captured by a trio of Fallen. Then he meets that fugitive, called by him Mortuus, and sends him on his way to Limbo, remaining the prisoner of the Fallen. Will Chiron the centaur, Aristotle’s friend, be able to save him this time? Will Mortuus reach Limbo?
What I liked:
Originality of the created world surprised me nicely here. The author really has an extensive knowledge of Greek myths and Dante’s work and he uses it in a fresh, creative way. Mainly because of that feature the book was readable. Aristotle, as one of the main characters with itchy feet, was a great hero to follow.
What I didn’t like:
In this book I faced a case of unexpectedly disappearing heroes – first the narration is led by a boy who read Dante’s Inferno, grew up a bad man, had a nasty car accident and went to Hell. Then we switch to Aristotle. Where the boy has gone? What’s happened to him? Then the narration switches to Mortuus’s trek to limbo. Then we see some other fugitives, Aethos, Darius and Panos, not connected with the previous characters of the story, escaping the Hell as well. Such a lack of coherence and narrative continuity was a bit unnerving. It ruined for me otherwise quite entertaining experience.
A novel full of fresh ideas but begging for more continuity and, overall, a strong, main thread. I felt the general motive of escape was not binding the whole narration well enough.