I finished reading Hell Bent last week and let me just say (succinctly) AHHHH. This sequel has been long awaited (Ninth House came out in 2019 can you believe) and am pleased to say I thoroughly enjoyed Hell Bent. Dark, bloody, full of tricks and demons and puzzles and schemes, it is a breathless journey. Alex continues to punch her way through problems, and the book really delved into the survivor mentality too. I do love when books unpack trauma and mental health issues amongst plots of clever twists and wicked powers.
Without giving too much away, Hell Bent centres on Alex and Dawes looking desperately for a way to get Darlington out of hell. Rituals, summonings, a gauntlet invoked by blood that will open the gates of hell–they’re quite literally ready to try everything, no matter the cost. Even if the cost could be losing Lethe itself. Alex and Dawes budding friendship was everything; they are such polar opposites in personality (Alex is sharp and dangerous and dark, and Dawes is a total soft-hearted, cosy baking introvert) but the team work these two put in is divine. Then the surprising addition to their duo is the reoccurring appearance of Turner, and then add in also dumbass golden retriever Tripp. And suddenly we have the foursome who are going to hell for a little exchange student trip to fetch Darlington. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG.
I did think the book would be darker and the fall out worse though, but possibly this is just on me 😂 and the horror I’ve been reading lately. I loved the pacing of it, the ever-rising stakes, how it wasn’t a traditional 3-act structure so it honestly kept me engaged the whole time. The finale sets up gloriously for more books and like–omg my heart maybe screamed a few times in happiness at the imagery–am holding my breathe here to keep back spoilers. So basically read it and tell me what you thought!!
Deliciously dark, this is dark academia meets urban fantasy with a good dose of demon tricks, unforgivable acts, blood-soaked history references, and untamed powers.
Thank you to Hachette Australia for the copy!
Alex Stern returns in another tale of murder and dark magic set among the Ivy League elite. Wealth. Power. Murder. Magic. Alex Stern is back and the Ivy League is going straight to hell.
Find a gateway to the underworld. Steal a soul out of hell. A simple plan, except people who make this particular journey rarely come back. But Galaxy “Alex” Stern is determined to break Darlington out of purgatory?even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale.
Forbidden from attempting a rescue, Alex and Dawes can’t call on the Ninth House for help, so they assemble a team of dubious allies to save the gentleman of Lethe. Together, they will have to navigate a maze of arcane texts and bizarre artifacts to uncover the societies’ most closely guarded secrets, and break every rule doing it. But when faculty members begin to die off, Alex knows these aren’t just accidents. Something deadly is at work in New Haven, and if she is going to survive, she’ll have to reckon with the monsters of her past and a darkness built into the university’s very walls.
Thick with history and packed with Bardugo’s signature twists, Hell Bent brings to life an intricate world full of magic, violence, and all too real monsters.