Raising Hell

Raising Hell

by Bryony Pearce

3 out of 5

Meet Ivy Elizabeth Mann:

"I know what you're thinking, but I'm not half faery, or demon, or angel or anything like that. Mum's a Body Shop consultant living in a bungalow in Birmingham and Dad enters crossword competitions."

Once upon a time, Ivy and her friends did a very stupid thing and now there's a rift letting dark matter into the world. Dark matter that manifests as black magic which actually works. Now every teenager with access to the Internet is raising hell. Literally.

Ivy's doing her best to stem the tide, but her new job working school security barely pays the bills and there's only so much one girl with a machete (and a cat possessed by her own dead grandmother) can do against the forces of evil.

Now she's facing a teenaged goth with an attitude, a dark cabal with a terrifying agenda and a potential zombie apocalypse.

Ivy losing her job might be the best thing to happen to the world! 

Magic and monsters has quickly become the norm in London, after a spell went wrong 4 years ago. Ivy devotes her life to protecting kids, but discovers they might be able to stop it all.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

After one of their tight-knit group is killed by a hit-and-run driver, Ivy and her friends try to raise Violet from the dead. Not expecting anything to happen, it all goes wrong - one of them is killed, and a rift from hell is opened. Suddenly, London is the hotspot for paranormal activity. Children can all access magic, and teens in particular are causing trouble with their angst.

Four years later, Ivy's access to magic is fading (as with all adults); but she is working as security in a school, to protect them from hell hounds, phantoms and anything else that the kids might conjure. All she has is her trusty machete, and a drive to fix the chaos she started.
A chance inspection leads to fighting off hell hounds, dealing with a powerful teenage witch, and her bull-headed older brother.

This was like, the perfect teenage read, and as a teenager, I would have totally lapped it up.
At the centre of the story, is how much pain everyone is in, even if they don't show it. Teenagers seem to feel it most acutely of all; and these teens in London suddenly have the power to do something about it. Which makes them incredibly dangerous.
It's only been 4 years since magic has been a part of their lives, and it still feels new and uncertain. No one knows how to deal with it, and people are holding things together as best they can.
I thought the teenage characters, and the drama driving them, was really well-portrayed and realistic.

The not-so-good.
The lack of world-building.
I never truly knew what was going on, and why. It goes from action scene, to gory action scene, and throws in the odd comment about the government quizzing Ivy, but nothing is explained.
Why is Ivy a bad-ass demon-killer? Who trained her? How does she know to do exorcisms? She went from an average teen, to Buffy. Yes, there were 4 years in between, but no info.
I get why the school hire her; but what about the other security dude - why isn't he trained? Are the people guarding other schools just as useless?
For a while, I didn't even realise that it was Ivy's cocked-up spell that started all this.

The second half had more chaotic fight scenes that got hard to follow, and I couldn't understand most of Ivy's choices.
At one point she does consider sacrificing innocent blood, for the greater good. It just seemed to go against what the character believed.
And then the zombies... <spoiler ahead>
deciding to use the Emporium as your base, because it gives you the best advantage in a fight. Except they don't figure in the two zombies start a hoard of them, as they cross London at rush hour. Again, goes against Ivy wanting to protect people, that she'd sit back and wait for the monsters come to her, at the cost of so many lives. Oh, and that base has no other exit...<end spoiler>

Overall, this was a gory and entertaining story, and I'm interested to read the author's future works.


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