A Dark Fantasy Popcorn Novel: Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: January 10, 2023
Series: Alex Stern #2
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Fantasy


Find a gateway to the underworld. Steal a soul out of hell. A simple plan, except people who make this particular journey rarely come back. But Galaxy “Alex” Stern is determined to break Darlington out of purgatory–even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale.

Forbidden from attempting a rescue, Alex and Dawes can’t call on the Ninth House for help, so they assemble a team of dubious allies to save the gentleman of Lethe. Together, they will have to navigate a maze of arcane texts and bizarre artifacts to uncover the societies’ most closely guarded secrets, and break every rule doing it. But when faculty members begin to die off, Alex knows these aren’t just accidents. Something deadly is at work in New Haven, and if she is going to survive, she’ll have to reckon with the monsters of her past and a darkness built into the university’s very walls.

Thick with history and packed with Bardugo’s signature twists, Hell Bent brings to life an intricate world full of magic, violence, and all too real monsters.

My Thoughts

Sometimes you’re so into the first book in a series that you set your expectations for the sequel so impossibly high that there’s no way it can hit that mark. I’m generally pretty good at managing my expectations for books I’m reading as a critic, but occasionally there are stories that hit me at the right time and in the right mood that I just can’t get over. However, put enough space between it and the sequel and one of two things will happen: either I’ll get bored and forget about the series or that awe will compound so that by the time the sequel finally does come out my feelings toward the first are even higher than they were when I read it. Both situations lead to the same result for me. It’s like suddenly only being able to see how the magician does her trick instead of being enamored by the trick itself. And this is where I found myself with the second book in Leigh Bardugo’s Alex Stern series, Hell Bent

Read the rest of my review at Tor.com.

Buy at bookshop.org (affiliate link).

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