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Review: Hell’s Door Opens (Book 1) by Jon Creffield

By / August 31, 2012 / no comments

Hell’s Door Opens is  billed as dark fantasy, mixing elements of horror & fantasy I was intrigued when I was offered this book to review. I am a long time roleplayer & DM and Jon Creffield has written roleplaying source material with the very father of Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax. That’s got to be a good match I thought, so I agreed and entered the world of reading self published ebooks for the very first time on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9.

The city of Sept is deep in the thrall of a supernatural attack. Madness has gripped the populous, lords and servants cavort in mass orgies of base desires and carnal lusts; cannibalistic rituals, demonic entities, torture and blood magic. This is the world Calgus, Prince of Sept, faces when he is awoken from the madness. He soon learns he must rally the people or face losing his city to an imminent attack by the nomadic clans. Luckily not all of the city are under the evil spell and he enlists the aid of the seeress Jessela, Sevenet the rogue and the courtesan/assassin Semara, to save the city from impending doom.

Demonic fights, mystical battles, dark occult brotherhoods, siege warfare, pitched running battles and the odd attempt at finding romance in the chaos, the book encompasses a lot in it’s 264 pages. It almost encompasses too much. I struggled with reading this book, part of it I think may have been reading it on a tablet but part of it was the writing style and characterisations. I found parts of it too verbose and descriptive, at times the description would lead off into backstory and break the rhythm of the story. A little too often some miraculous power would up and save the day from imminent danger.

Then just as the tide of battle is turning for the beleaguered defenders of the city, the Prince is gaining the upper hand and rebellious factions of the defenders have made themselves known, the book ends. Right in mid seige. It ended so abruptly I thought I must be missing some of the book but further investigation showed it wasn’t. Well at least it didn’t end all love and kisses on the battlements as the sun sets on the vanquished foes I guess…

Of all the characters, Sevenet felt the most fleshed out to me. He falls into the flawed hero category, which I must admit is the type of hero I like to read about. Maybe if Jon Creffield develops his novella approach some more then a Sevenet series chronicling his adventures could be in the pipeline.

As time has passed since I read Hell’s Door Opens, all the things that annoyed me about it have melted away, leaving the skeletal arc of the story. The premise of the book, the story arc and hooks developed all have potential to be a good story. Book One just didn’t grab me as hard as it could have.

“This review was written by Brenton Cumberpatch for www.bestfantasybooks.com

 

About the author

Ben

Blog editor, admin and founder of BestFantasyBooks.comYou'll find me on the BestFantasyBook forums and spending my spare time reading fantasy books and writing lists for this site. In fact, I have no spare time -- running this site IS my spare time!

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