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Rashika, The Book Owl

So my name is Rashika and I am weird. I read a lot (duh) and I watch a lot of TV. I also like to review. Check out my blog (where I co-blog with awesome people).

I liked it but it could have been a whole lot better

The Devil's Engine: Hellraisers - Alexander Gordon Smith

Immediate Reaction After Finishing Book


Hellraisers drew me in because of its intriguing premise and while I loved the world building I never managed to fall in love with the book. There is definitely potential in the series and by the end of the book, I was hooked, I just wanted more from the book as a whole.

What I Liked

  • World building. The idea of a machine that can grant any wish at a cost is so intriguing and the author totally did this idea justice. My favorite bits in the novel were when we got to learn more about the machine and it’s powers. I love the way it isn’t just a fantastical thing but that it becomes scientific in the way engineers and lawyers approach it,
  • Lack of romance. If there had been a romance it would have been instalove and I am glad that it didn’t happen. It could but right now, all we have is an unrequited crush and that’s fun too because then we get to see a relationship develop as opposed to a romance that doesn’t make sense.


What could have been better (i.e. things that were just okay)

  • The Characters. I had a really hard time relating to the main character, Marlow. I also didn’t like Pan, the other main character. Marlow was hard to relate to because he had no drive. This characteristic is essential to his character so I don’t know if my annoyance is a good thing or not, I do know that I wanted to shake him most of the time. It’s why his development doesn’t do much for me. Also he totally mistreated Charlie--his best friend--and it pissed me off. My problem with Pan was that she transitions too quickly from an ice-queen to someone who has too many feelings and it made her development almost unbelievable to me. It’s kind of hard to explain and I am doing a bad job at explaining anyway so I am going to stop.
  • The pacing/plot. I didn’t like that it took half of the book for us to finally be introduced to the world of the engine. I did like the realisticness of Marlow’s reactions but I was so excited to just see the world of the engine (the lawyers, engineers, the actual engine, etc.) that his inability to believe started rubbing on me. This is mostly a ‘me’ thing since I am impatient and prefer when things move quickly (although not too quickly because if a book is rushed then that’s no fun at all.) The plot was also paced weirdly in that the first half of the book took forever and the second half seemed to fly by, almost too quickly. I also felt like there wasn’t a proper overarching plot? Like I had no real idea where the book was going until the end, not because there was some major twist that changed my entire perception of the novel but because there wasn’t always consistency throughout the novel.


The difference between the ‘What I liked’ and the ‘What Could Have Been Better’ might make you think I mostly didn’t like the book but that isn’t true. I liked it okay, it’s just that nothing about it really grabbed at me and made me go WOWZA, THIS IS AMAZEBALLS and that’s kind of what I expected given the novel's amazing blurb. The ending did really up the stakes though so I am going to continue with the series and see what awaits for these characters in the future novels.