Amber, Christian, Jay, and their friends are back to face the challenges of confronting It to save the life of their friend, Katie, who is being held captive in Hell. Before they can face the challenge of traveling to the depths of darkness where only the souls of the tortured and dead stir, they must use witchcraft to view the past and learn as much as they can about the murders of the Hamilton family. After witnessing these horrific murders by It, they learn vital information that helps them to prepare to rescue Katie from a place where dark witches, demons, and the devil call home. Once they have learned this crucial information from the past, Amber recruits the help of Jay and other vampires to train and guide them through the darkness below. Their powers and abilities as a team are strengthened as they travel to Hell to save Katie. Amber is warned early on, though, that not everyone she trusts can be trusted. What secrets are revealed in the house on Highway 89? Can they rescue Katie from Hell and keep everyone alive while doing so? Let your fingers carefully travel the pages of this book to find out.
The epic final battle this series deserves! With a dash of new characters, a realistic evolution of power, and the ultimate face off we’ve been waiting for, this series finale did not disappoint!
Through Christian Eyes
A true Christian would look at the cover and immediately see the conflicting themes in this book: witchcraft versus Christianity. The problem is that Kessell wrote these two as if they co-exist in defeating evil when Leviticus 19:31 clearly states otherwise: “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.”
On page 33, Christian says, “You are humans challenging demons from Hell.” Not only is that impossible to do without God, but the whole book makes it seem as though magic is what defeats Satan and that in comparison to the witches, Cindy and Snakes look rather silly for exercising their holy faith in God through prayer during battles. To be written realistically according to Christian faith, it should be the other way around. Our God is greater than all evil, and through Him alone do we stand a chance against the wiles of the Devil.
So many of the fine details regarding the demonic aspects were inaccurate. Like this line from page 94: “Really hard to imagine anything filled with so much hate ever being capable of love.” This is in reference to the demon It that has been the main antagonist for the book series. The problem is that demons have never been capable of love. Not even as angels were they beings of love; angels are beings of obedience. To think a demon or angel is capable of love is simply misleading.
My Problem with Magic
Not only is it religiously wrong, but it feels like a cheat. When writing magic, you can give your characters ANY power you want. Through spells (that are basically just poems that rhyme) your characters can be armed with EXACTLY the power they need to defeat their enemies at EXACTLY the right time. I would much rather watch a character struggle to face and overcome their fears than to watch them be armed with the PERFECT weapon and unrealistically take down their enemies.
For instance, in this book Christian had a power to wave his hand in front of people’s faces and erase their memory. Not only was this totally random the first time he did it, but it just felt fake. Eventually, by the third time he does it, you accept it as his power but still. Felt like the easy way out of facing his problem.
What I Loved
- New characters! Bryan was a great addition to the story, as were the vampires. It was cool watching this army form over the course of the book.
- The length of time the characters developed their skills was realistic in order to face the power they were up against. Kessell didn’t rush into the final battle, and it made getting in and getting out of Hell feel more imperative.
- The fact that Kessell isn’t afraid to kill off main characters makes you terrified the entire book. You don’t know who It will slaughter next, and I love the thrill of never knowing who the survivors are until the end.
- Kessell has been setting up a history for the House on Highway 89 since book one, but in this book all the timelines weaved together flawlessly. The coolest part was that Kessell wrote the witches’ history so well that Katie being the answer to everything seemed realistic, not just overplayed because she was the original witch from book one.
What I Disliked
- Kessell made Christian obviously evil from the start of the book, but made Amber oblivious to it the whole time. Even though he had the ability to erase memory, Amber remembered a lot of what she saw about him that should have given him away. It seemed on the nose and redundant that Amber didn’t catch it before.
- What happened to Jin Ho during the training (I’m avoiding spoilers here) seemed random and unnecessary. Why choose this character for that? He posed the least threat to the culprit. I think, if something had happened to him in the House when they time traveled, that would have seemed at least more grounded in the plotline.
- Random moments about Christian’s sexual fantasies with women felt so uncomfortable to read. I see what Kessell was going for and maybe it’s just me, but they felt oddly thrown in and just, unsuitable to the type of evil he was.
The witchcraft was strong in this book, so it’s hard for me to give it a thousand thumbs up when I, as a Christian, don’t support that. But in regards to Kessell’s writing, the character development, and entertainment value…a THOUSAND THUMBS UP! Kessell wrote the ending we needed, and it was through a bloody path trailing behind one badass demon: It That Has No Name.