Once Upon a Time in Hell – Heaven’s Gate Trilogy #2 – Guy Adams

Once Upon a Time in HellRelease date: December 31st, 2013
Publisher: Solaris
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 288
Format: E-book
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book two of The Heaven’s Gate Trilogy. A weird western, a gun-toting, cigarrillo-chewing fantasy built from hangman’s rope and spent bullets. The west has never been wilder. A Steampunk-Western-Fantasy from Guy Adams.

“Heaven? Hell? There’s no difference. Angels, demons, we’re all a bit of both. This could be the most wondrous place you ever experience or so terrifying it makes you pray for death. Not that death would help you of course, there’s no escape from here”

Wormwood has appeared and for twenty four hours the gateway to the afterlife is wide open. But just because a door is open doesn’t mean you should step through it;

Those who have travelled to reach the town are realising that the challenges they’ve already faced were nothing compared to what lies ahead. The afterlife has an agenda of its own and with scheming on both sides of reality, the revelations to come may change the world forever.

Review:

The book starts immediately after the events in The Good, the Dad and the Infernal . Anyone who survived the journey has arrived at Wormwood and anxiously awaits the village to appear . When it eventually appears, it turns out to be not as everyone expected. Not everyone is in fact admitted to the village. Those who were admitted just disappeared from the crowd, leaving the rest behind.

We follow the familiar characters, some of which were allowed to enter Wormwood, others remain behind and still others find their own way to the Hereafter .

Throughout the book, the author introduces a number of mysteries . Who is the person who is described as the devil, who took a woman from the camp and killed her in the mountains? Who is they guy called Lorenzo who talks to them from Wormwood and has addressed some of the travelers specifically in the past to encourage them to come to see Wormwood. Then we still have the big question from the first book : who is the old, nameless gunslinger whose eyes and mouth glow at night. And then of course the greatest mystery of all: what is the purpose of Wormwood ? Is it really as they say, to give people a glimpse of the afterlife or is it more than that ?

The gunslinger and his protégée find their own way through the “hell” in the afterlife, not waiting for a possible admission to Wormwood . For some reason, no one can see the old gunslinger in the deeper layers of the hereafter, except Elwin . Elwin is given the task to find a woman with some magical powers and convince her to phrase a certain ‘spell’. But Elwin is a bit overconfident and his game is not working out as he had hoped , with quite destructive consequences .
Hell in Guy Adam’s world is full of strange creatures and it was really fun to read. It gives a very different picture of hell than the standard or any version I’ve already read. Guy Adams has a vivid imagination and all these strange , sometimes absurd creatures fit perfectly into the story he wanted to create here.

The writer , the blind assassin and mentally ill soldier and his caretaker are all admitted to Wormwood and all come into contact with Lorenzo one way or another. But why were they admitted and the others not? What is expected of them?

While the people who were not allowed become more and more restless and everything is threatening to turn into a real revolt. Will the people who everyone is turning on be able to keep themselves save or will there be even more victims?

The ending was fantastic, I’ve read very few such memorable last sentences. It made me instantly crave for more, because seriously, it is a massive cliffhanger .
Once Upon a Time in Hell is another story full of crazy characters, strange twists and crazy locations. A book full of oddities that captivated me ‘till the end. I absolutely cannot wait for the next part of this series , because these books are truly unique and make for wonderful reading.

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Posted on March 16, 2014, in Guy Adams and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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