*I received a digital ARC copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Hell And Back
Author: N.P. Martin
Series: (The Watchers #2.5)
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Synopsis (from Amazon):
After being captured in Hell by her own mother—who works for the King of Hell himself—Leia Swanson is finally released from her nightmarish prison in the dreaded Depths, the deepest, darkest part of Hell.
Soon after, Leia finds herself working for the King, the very demon she came to Hell to kill, and soon discovers that Hell is not only more twisted than she first realized, but also more complicated, especially when she has to work alongside her mother as an enforcer and intelligence gatherer, fighting against the many enemies who want to take down the King.
It isn’t long before Leia finds herself walking a dangerous line between being a loyal servant to the King and continuing to plot her escape from Hell, along the way trying to convince her reluctant and damaged mother to help her. On top of all this, Leia’s inner demon wants to take control of her, and she must also find a way to rescue little Alice, who has been sold into sex slavery.
Leia is on her most dangerous and complicated mission yet. If she fails, eternal suffering awaits her in the depths of Hell.
Format: ARC || Ebook
Hell And Back is the next book in the series after Hell Is Here, which is after Hell Is Coming. It is fantastic. It definitely didn’t disappoint, and it was one heck of a ride! In this book, we follow Leia after she was thrown in the depths. We see the torture she goes through before she is finally released, and from there on, her life only gets harder. She has to contend with the fact of who the King is and who he isn’t any longer. She has to work for him and in the process, gain a bloodlust and possibly false sense of loyalty for the King. She has more than one battle: she has yet to fully understand her demon, she has to find out a way to succeed in her mission, and she has to survive with herself in tact. Because everyone knows that Hell is no place of faith, hope, and anything other than pain and misery.
Just like in the first two books, I love the characters. I love how Leia is portrayed and how close we get to her in this book. I feel like I can predict her reactions now because of how well I feel I know her. I also love how strong she is. She may not be the same after all she’s gone through, but if anything, she’s stronger and has a better overall understanding which I’m sure will help her in the long run. Honestly, I admire her so much for not breaking, for not losing herself in the midst of Hell’s deceit, torture, and addicting bloodlust. Hell has hardened her, but not so much that she isn’t still Leia, because she is: she’s still kind, caring, strong, and loving (which was shown mostly through her caring of Alice, but also her mother). She just doesn’t cry or despair over the horrors of Hell anymore because she’s gotten used to it. You’re bound to accept the darker parts of Hell after living in them for however long Leia’s been there so far.
Which brings me to her mother. How Leia’s mom has any humanity left in her after all those centuries she’s spent in Hell being tortured and subjected to such cruelness, I have no idea. But it’s easy to see where Leia gets her strength from. Leia’s mom is an assassin, which means she can definitely hold her own, but she still has heart. I expected her to be so different from how Leia remembered her, since she’s been in Hell for so long, but to be honest, she’s still the same. In a way. She forgets emotions, caring, love, but with Leia there, she has a light again. And the part of her she buried in order to survive in Hell starts to appear again. She’s also pretty badass, just saying.
King Eblis is…. well, he’s as cruel as one would expect Hell’s King to be. He lies, deceives, tortures, and he’s so far into the darkness he has no humanity left. And while at times he can play the part of a caring person, it’s only ever to help him succeed in his games. I definitely loved him in the end though, where Leia and him had a moment, before Alice makes herself known (I can’t really explain the situation because of spoilers, sorry!).
Speaking of the end, it played out so much better than what I had been conjuring up! It was… brilliant! The adrenaline, the rage, the hope, it was all so addicting and I easily lost myself in the book. I mean, I was easily hooked and lost in the story, but at that point, I was so far in I forgot I was reading a book in the first place…. I know. I’m weird. And I’ll admit, I predicted what would happen with the whole Leia-must-kill-Eblis situation, like what she would end up doing. But the rest I didn’t see coming until moments before that. It’s great!
And now I’m being random but, to be honest, I want more of Lucas. It’s obvious at times how much Leia misses him, and that makes me want them together again because she deserves some happiness, you know? And so I hope we get more of him in the next book.
Overall, Hell And Back is a brilliantly written book. I love the characters, the writing, the world, the situations, and how easy it is to fall into the story. So yeah, I recommend this to everyone.