Monday, June 23, 2008

City Infernal

City Infernal, the first book in a trilogy by horror writer Edward Lee, is something of a mashup of horror and fantasy. The setting and description of places and things place it as horror, but the journey the characters follow is straight out of classic fantasy.
Cassie is a young woman immersed in the Goth culture. After the suicide of her twin sister (for which she blames herself), she and her father move to a quiet Southern town to put things behind them. It isn’t too quiet however, as Cassie discovers the house in which she lives was used by a previous occupant for Satanic sacrifices, and the locals believe the house is haunted. This seems plausible when Cassie meets Via, Hush and Xeke, three teens who are quite dead, but the reality is even stranger. It seems the house exists on a Deadpass, where the inhabitants of Hell can occasionally escape, for a brief time. Most people can’t see them, but Cassie is an Etheress, who possesses power both on Earth and in Hell.
Since suicides go to hell, Cassie’s sister was surely condemned, so with her dead friends, Cassie passes through to Hell to find and rescue her. There, she faces creatures that eat your feet while you’re sleeping, demonic rats and insects, torture unimaginable, and a major problem: If Lucifer ever got hold of an Etheress, he could incorporate into the living world. So, while Cassie searches for her sister, Satan launches an all-out campaign to capture her.
A lot of people have described City Infernal as being somewhat extreme, but I found it less so than most of Lee’s work. It is somewhat inconclusive, but that’s understandable since there are two books to follow. Recommended.

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