Title: Last Day in Hell
Author: Jay Phillips
Genre: Dystopian/urban fantasy
Rating: Four stars
“A young woman wakes in a strange place without her memory, without her name, unable to recognize the sound of her own voice. All she knows, the one truth she can’t deny, is that she is dead, and this place, this world filled with inexplicable terrors, is in fact Hell.
A man named Jack and his group of lost souls struggle to collect the few innocent strays trapped in this dimension, to ferry them off to another realm, to a better place. When Jack frees this young woman from her cell, from the prison she finds herself in, she is placed in a cycle of struggle and pain from which there is no escape.
Lost in a Hell created by a vengeful angel, Jack’s group fight their way to the one safe spot in this world, their one last refuge, each of them brought to this place to repay an unknown debt, each member as clueless about their past as the young woman who quickly finds a place amongst their ranks.
Jack himself is pursued by a demon, a succubus, who claims to love him, a woman who may well know him better than he could ever know himself. Her desire for him will lead Jack and his group down a new path, a dark path, that will change everything they have ever known.”
Who’s driving this thing?
It feels like there are two protagonists in this book: a girl known only as January and a man known only as Jack. January is full of questions and the most proactive and brave when under pressure, but I really connected with her. She wanted to make sense of an ever-changing, unpredictable Hell and she doesn’t care how many questions it takes to do it.
Jack has been in the game of transferring new arrivals in Hell to their preferred afterlife for a long time. The leader of a group of souls condemned to traffic souls. Unlike January, he doesn’t question any of it, he just leads and gets on with it. He’s also mysteriously rugged.
What’s this all about?
January wakes up in a castle, butt naked and is soon chased by a hoard of ghouls. When Jack and his team show up to take out the undead enemy, they escort January and several other souls to a temple. One by one, a heavenly lady allows the souls entrance to her utopian realm, but bars January from entering. Some souls must remain to help new souls cross over, and she has been chosen.
The creator and manipulator of this Hell, Samael, is hell-bent (pun intended) of torturing and destroying the souls that pass through and has created gruesome “pets” from lost and tortured souls. When Jack is approached in his dreams by a red succubus, he is tasked with doing Samael’s bidding – and his friends’ fates are on the line.
We follow January, Jack and Anya through the recesses of this hellish wasteland, trying to discover what happened to them and outlive Samael’s gruelling challenges.
What’s so great about it?
This book has so many feels and some incredible monsters. Grotesque creatures with a million limbs, a ghoulish lady with her lips sewn together and a loyal, friendly, three-headed dog. The creativity in this book is astounding.
All the characters were distinct and loveable, even Anya who is a kick-ass teenage girl from the year 05 (that is the fifth year AD), who doesn’t spare a thought or a feeling.
The plot was utterly unpredictable and all in all the whole book was original, exciting and stimulating. Really well written and a pleasure to read.
What’s not so great about it?
I had one issue with this book but it kept coming up again and again, which made parts of it a little exasperating to read. This issue is going to sound strange, but I’ll explain: it’s the boobs.
Nope, I don’t have a problem with the nudity. There’s plenty of it in this book, sex included, and it’s not at all offensive. The problem is that whenever a female is nude in this book, the attention is always drawn to the boobs. There was a lot of “her boobs bounced as she walked, as she breathed” etc. and one of the protagonists, January (funnily enough, not Jack) is on not one, but two occasions, so mesmerised by the boobs she sees that she has to physically stop herself from squeezing them. Other boobs, not her own, just to clarify.
Not only were the actions sometimes impossible (my boobs have never once bounced when I’ve breathed), but the unnecessary focus on them was a little off-putting. The first time, it wasn’t a big deal. When it became a running theme, I felt exasperated. Even though I know the author is male, it would have been very easy to guess the author’s gender on account of those parts of the narrative.
This book is awesome, I just feel it would have been perfect without the unnecessary and physics-defying boobage.
Where can I get it?
Last Day in Hell is a Kindle Unlimited book, available in e-book and paperback formats using this link. From the look of the cover, I’d say it’s worth getting in paperback – I’m definitely tempted. The prices are pretty reasonable, too.
Thanks for reading!