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Hell's Pawn Paperback – July 27, 2011
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Five stars from Reviews by Jesse Wave: "--a very enjoyable rollicking ride of a book. There's a great mix of action, pathos, humour, love and camaraderie, all set in a unique series of worlds which are imaginatively described."
Praise from Forbes.com: "--I couldn't put it down. Jay Bell has drafted a interesting, page-turning book that tours not only the traditional afterlife, but also the afterlives of many different religions-"
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, not in Jay Bell's hands. He needed less than a chapter to knock me on my butt. Right from the start he piles on the coolness and the fun and the great, original concepts. Again and again I kept thinking, "How does he come up with this stuff?" The different realms of the afterlife -- from Hell to Mt Olympus to ancient Egypt -- are all richly described, and perhaps my biggest surprise was how "afterlifey" each one felt. This isn't the afterlife in name only -- Bell infuses every page with a feeling of otherworldliness that's really impressive. In that sense it's one of the most successful imaginings of the afterlife I've encountered.
The locales are secondary to the fantastic characters, though. From Rimmon the sexy incubus, to Bolo the dog (a refreshing, non-anthropomorphized portrayal), to Yi Yi the tiny and excitable terracotta soldier, to Asmoday the archduke of Hell who bathes in pools of vomit -- these are characters who'll stick in my mind, and I hope to see more of them someday. (We're also treated to a guest appearance by a character from an earlier Bell story that had me beaming with happiness.) Bell should be especially proud of his portrayal of the various gods. They're wise and commanding without ever seeming trite. That's an awesome feat.
All in all this is a fun, captivating novel with big ideas, and it's a great addition to Jay Bell's body of work.
Rimmon is a fascinatingly complex character. With him, as with many other characters along the way, I see the theme 'don't judge a book by its cover', even if it has red skin, horns, and a tail and stereotypically speaking, looks like a demon which we associate with evil. However, it's the heart that counts and as John discovers, regardless of appearances, Rimmon has a good heart. He admires John and wants to love him, but his heart belongs to his estranged lover and he is unable to move on and get it back.Read more ›
For an atheist like me, this was an interesting book. I have never been able to keep an entirely straight face when e.g. the Christian God is described as an old man with a fluffy white beard sitting on an equally fluffy white cloud, surrounded by singing angels. At the same time, I like it when people can honestly be a bit naïve*, especially when they are openly optimistic and are acting as messengers of love. That said, the things I struggled with in this book are interlinked to the things that I found quite charming. This is one of those books with a message, and it's an important one, so even though there were some things I found a bit silly, there was altogether too much goodness in the book for me to despair.
The characters were the absolute best thing in the novel and I loved every single one of them. Bell succeeded well with such a huge cast and managed to get an original spark to most of them, especially to the most important ones. What's more, I like fantasy and adventure and there was plenty of both. In this, the book was very similar to A Cat in the Cradle.
At some parts the story felt a bit like a lecture, and the lack of subtlety was probably the thing that bothered me the most. E.g. if people are not aware of the similarities between religions, this is a good wake-up call. There were parts where you could clearly feel that what a character says comes straight from Jay Bell's mouth (and heart, I suppose, because those parts were so earnest). With themes such as acceptance of diversity it is rather hard not to get emotional. There is so much hope in the book. Bell describes the world as he sees it, as a place where all kinds of beings exist, and they have the right to do so.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
All I can say is ths book is dark. It brought me down so far that it took days to get over it. For a small book it felt as if it was never going to end. Not like Jay's other stuff. Read morePublished 25 days ago by J. Buke
Jay Bell has a way of telling a story that hooks you from beginning to end. Whether it is true to life or the after-life, he makes the journey pleasant,exciting and scary. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Brobot
Loved this book. Very clever and inventive plot. One of my favorites from Jay Bell. I highly recommend it.Published 5 months ago by Bernard W. Leger
The descriptions in this book are very clever and create a clear image in the mind. The characters are intriguing and the mythological intertwining is fascinating. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sylvia
Jay Bell is a genius. I love all of his books but this one is my favorite by far. One more wordPublished 11 months ago by Terry
Such a great book. And keep an eye out for a special guest star that'll make your heart ache!Published 12 months ago by Peter
I, admittedly, had a bit of a problem with the start of this book. I read it primarily because of being a fan of Jay's work. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Roy Evans
Jay Bell has once again crafted a very interesting story. One that brings many religions together. Honestly, my only criticism is that a lot of more famous religions were ignored... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Cory