Monday, 25 August 2014

Book Review - Poets in Hell


It’s hard to know what to expect from a book titled ‘Poets in Hell’, at least I hadn’t a clue until I turned the first page. What I got was something quite mad, that’s mad in an absolutely wild, clever, surreal and brilliant way.

I like fantasy, and I like it dark, this is probably what attracted me to a book set in the vast expanse of hell, what a brilliant playground for a group of writers to unleash their imaginations. Of course, the idea of a collection of stories about poets doesn’t exactly conjure an image of action and adventure, but I can say, this group of wordsmiths may have lived sedate, studious lives, but death gets seriously real for them. There is such a wild, eclectic mix of characters in this collection, all bound together with a common theme, and a running consistency that speaks of very clever world building, behind the scenes. Although each author has his or her own take on hell and the, madcap adventures they put their characters through, there are also common themes and characters binding the collection together and giving the book a strong feel of oneness, giving the reader the feel of roving through the many layers of hell, like some kind of traveller roaming through space and time witnessing all of the action up close.

 As I said there are consistent rules running through the collection. Wars are fought in hell, murders committed, anything that happened in life can happen in hell, but generally with horrible consequences. Food tastes like shit, literally, nothing is as it seems, if something appears good it’s most likely just a trick of the devil’s to torment the soul even further. Shakespeare, Yeats, Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, Helen of Troy… the cast is endless and limitless. They live, love and lose all in hell.

A good book? Hell yeah!

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