Hell's Game by Teresa Lo

"They only exist because you have to much pride, and pride is one of the seven deadliest sins. It is pride that will cause you to stay in Hell. Remember the knowledge you read in my books. Remember that there is a Higher Power than yourself. Remember that it is okay to lean on others in your time of need. Go home and prepare your body, mind and soul to be as strong as it can be before The Game begins, and tell the others to do the same. That is the only real advice I can give you, but that advice is what will help you conquer." -Mayor Hercules Hell's Game by Teresa Lo On Halloween night in Deer Creek, Kansas, Jake Victor, Ashley and Ashton Gemini, and Kristin Grace convince Ronnie Smalls to meet them at the town cemetery, which local folklore has always rumored to be the Gateway to Hell. Their intention was only to scare him, but soon the wicked prank becomes actual horror as the group learns the Gateway is all too real. After demons snatch Ronnie and drag him to Hell, the terrified foursome vow to keep what they had seen a secret. Two years later, the group receives a mysterious letter, an invite to play a high-stakes game in Hell. If they win, they release Ronnie’s soul as well as their own from eternal damnation. If they lose, they are stuck in Hell forever. Choosing to play, they face nightmare after nightmare as each level escalates in intensity and forces them to face the seven deadly sins. Inspired by the legends of the Gateway to Hell in Stull, Kansas, Hell’s Game explores the cruelty that teenagers can inflict upon each other as well as the horrors that exist amongst mankind. It is a dark, action-packed young adult novel that will both scare its readers and make them question the true meaning of evil I love how in the summary it says that the teens "chose to play" the game. The letters that they receive are actually pretty threatening. Stating that if they refuse to play the game, it will be instant access to Hell upon their death. If they win they rescue themselves along with Ronnie's soul from Hell. Usually with young adult books I always hope for a little bit of a darker read when it comes to the horror books. This one did a great job of fulling that hope. I was a little disappointed to see how lenient they were on the rules, especial regarding giving them the access to a watch when the Gamemaker clearly states that they do not usually do that. But it's really a small thing compared to the whole storyline of the novel. The trials that the teens have to go through was a unique twist and almost reminded me a bit of The Devouring series by Simon Holt. You get a little bit of physiological mixed in with the physical activities of the games. Then you have the added bonus of having a time limit to complete the tasks. The time limit keeps the story paced well and the games are dark and it's a pretty fast paced novel.

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