Review of HELLGATE: LONDON: GOETIA by Mel Odom (see his website)
HELLGATE: LONDON BOOK TWO OF THREE
Pocket Star, February 2008
Demons surging out of the London Hellgate have been joined by more demons in more cities across the world, the military has been virtually destroyed, and humans scratch out miserable existances, always hunted by demons. Simon Cross, a former Templar, broke with that organization when they refused to help civilians, huddling beneath London in their underground fortresses. Gradually he's built a Templar splinter group--a group that doesn't mind taking the fight to the demons, no matter how helpless that battle may seem. Now, though, he learns that an ancient book, Goetia, may hold the secret to controlling the demons. Goetia, a work created by King Solomon himself just might be the weapon humans need to survive.
Although the military has been destroyed, the British government hasn't given up the battle. One problem, though, is that they don't know whether they can trust the Templars. Agent Leah Creasey believes that Cross just might have the ability to lead the battle against the demons, but her organization doesn't trust anyone. Still, only by working together can they have any chance to find the secrets of Goetia.
Warren Schimmer didn't have much of a life before Hellgate. Now, though, things are much worse. A rogue demon has enlisted Warren, given him a demon arm to focus his magical power, and now uses him to do dirty work, or work that he can't do himself without violating demonic code. Unfortunately for Warren, the demon's next commands are to attack and destroy some of the most powerful demons in London. Unfortunately for the demon, Warren already has access to a mysterious book that seems willing to give him incredible powers--at a cost that Warren can't begin to understand.
In the second book in the HELLGATE: LONDON series (see our review of HELLGATE: LONDON: EXODUS), author Mel Odom (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of fantasy by Odom) delivers a fast-paced thriller. Odom wisely balances the story between super-powered Simon Cross, whose weakness is betrayal, intelligent Leah, and sneaky Warren. Warren is far from friendly with Simon and Leah--Simon cost him the arm his demon replaced, but the three find themselves working at convergent purposes as Warren attempts to stay alive and deliver his master's bidding while Simon and Leah search for the lost book of Goetia. Because Warren is so damaged, so filled with shades of gray, he actually comes across as a far more fascinating and sympathetic character than do the others.
Odom provides plenty of action, mixing technology and magic in intriguing ways. Fortunately, each action sequencefurthers the story in addition to letting us see our characters work out their own distinctive ways to deal with the superhuman strength of the demons. Fortunately, the demons' intelligence isn't on a match with their power.
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