I was drawn by the chirpy blurb and colourful cover – and the fact that my granddaughter falls within the age group indicated. So would I enjoy it?
Make no mistake, the Underworld is not a cheerful place. Brinkloven Crowley the Third is a Prince of Hell and he does NOT like living among his kind. He searches tirelessly for a way to escape. Then an escape finds HIM, and it is most unfortunate… Brink’s Unfortunate Escape from Hell is the prequel to the middle grade series Skycastle, the Demon, and Me.
This certainly bounces along with plenty joie de vivre, given that we are talking about Hell, which is fine by me as it is squarely aimed at children. The cover and blurb had a feel of the wonderful How To Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell, and I was hoping it would be of that calibre. It isn’t. The characterisation of Brink, the scrapes he gets into and the world he inhabits just lack the pinsharp writing, deft description and desert dry humour the is the hallmark of Cowell’s writing.
That said, it is a perfectly enjoyable little tale that I would happily read to the children and Brink is an amusing protagonist, although the depiction of Hell was a bit thin. I liked the device that allowed Brink to escape the confines of Hell – it was a neat twist, given how much Brink had striven to leave.
Brink is a protagonist I found it easy to sympathise with – it was easy to understand why he’d hide away and read, given the unpleasant characters wandering around Hell – not least his large, loud-mouthed brother. I found the latter scenes in the book easier to visualise than the earlier ones where he is wandering around Hell and the grey demon Torque was one of my favourite characters. And the final interchange between Jack and Brink suddenly brought the story to life in a way that made me want to check out the first book in the Skycastle series.
The ebook arc copy of Brink’s Unfortunate Escape from Hell was provided by NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book.