Imagine waking up naked, in a cell with two rotting corpses, and then a man in rags with two katana’s breaks down your prison door and basically says “come with me if you want to live”. That’s how we start “The Last Day in Hell” where our main female MC, January, wakes up confused, not knowing anything about herself or who she was, not even her real name, the only fact she knows is that she is naked, dead, and the date she died. When our main male MC, Jack, and his crew find her they explain the world January suddenly finds herself in, and how they have to traverse this hellscape full of monsters in order to reach a door that could potentially lead them out of Hell if they are chosen. They don’t know why they are in Hell to begin with, so proving themselves worthy of getting out of this place becomes difficult when no one really knows what to do in order to atone. The book starts off action packed and full of intrigue. I originally loved the premise of this story, but the more I read, the more I realized this book just wasn’t for me.
Let’s start off with the trigger warnings, because they’re pretty important and the synopsis doesn’t adequately prepare the reader for some of the topics that get covered in this book. This is an adult, dark fantasy novel, so of course violence is described in a lot of detail at times, and there’s swearing, but that’s not really an issue, at least not for me. But suicide, rape, and graphic assault mainly against women are also heavily present in this book. Some of these victimized women then get turned into monsters to chase and punish the other people in this Hell that I… didn’t like even if I thought the twist on classic mythological creatures was interesting at times. But if things like suicide are sensitive topics for you, I’d recommend against picking up this particular story. It’s not a trigger of mine, but even I, by the end, was having trouble with the portrayal of the topic and its relation to the plot so much that it ended up really turning me off to the story, even to the parts that were once humorous!
I’m not sure if this book is purposely meant to be satirical, but that’s how I chose to read it, mainly because the author does describe how a female character’s boobs sashay as she walks, or bounce as she breaths quite a bit. If it was just once or twice, it wouldn’t be something I’d mention, but it comes up fairly often… And all the female characters are described quite a lot as being sexy or cute (even the characters themselves tell us that they are sexy), or very attractive, and the male MC and the antagonist are also shown to be incredibly attractive and buff, too. So at least the people in Hell, outside of the ghouls and monsters, are nice to look at?
I genuinely liked the premise of this book, where a group of characters are trying to survive in Hell long enough to ascend into Heaven. That there are people who wake up in Hell and know nothing, and are thrust into an instant fight or die scenario. But with how often the reader is told, rather than shown, how beautiful a character is, plus the way those trigger warnings I mentioned earlier are depicted in the book and their function to the plot… By the end I struggled a lot with this story. Would I have enjoyed it more if I had known these topics ahead of time? It’s hard to say, but maybe? But that’s why I am ultimately giving this 2 stars. However, given all the other reviews are so glowing, this may be a case of the book simply not being for me… But thanks to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!
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