Thursday, February 2, 2023

Hell Bent Review (Alex Stern, #2)

Hello, all!

I loved Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo when it first came out (review here), and I've been anticipating the second book, Hell Bent, ever since and it's finally here. 

Pub Date: 1-10-23
Adult - Fantasy

After losing her mentor, Darlington, to a hell beast, Alex Stern is determined to do whatever it takes to get him back. Even if that means dragging him out of hell herself. Alex knows by attempting this mission, she's not only jeopardizing her position at Yale and Lethe, but her very life, but she can't let Darlington down again. Her plan is simple: find a gateway to hell, steal a soul, and don't die in the process.

Alex knows she can't call on the Ninth Houses for help after they expressly forbade her from a rescue attempt, so she turns to Dawes for help. The pair assembled a team of reluctant allies--including Detective Turner, who is investigating a string of mysterious murders on campus--to aid in bringing back Darlington. The team will find themselves navigating ancient passageways and decoding texts and, in the process, uncovering the societies' most guarded secrets. And, of course, breaking as many rules as possible. Alex knows something deadly is just around the corner, and not all will come back from their suicide mission, but she also knows she'll risk anything to save the gentleman of Lethe, even at her own expense.

As I mentioned, I'd been looking forward to this book, so it almost pains me to say it was just okay. It was just way too long and drawn out. I was so bored for most of it. I don't think I became invested in the plot until the last 30%. The tone felt different from the first book. I was hoping for all the same dark academia vibes, but it felt almost like an urban fantasy, which was fine but not what I was expecting. The characters also felt lacking, like they were dulled down. However, I enjoyed watching them work together and form this little ragtag family. I think I went into this with high expectations, and they just weren't met. Despite that, I'm still interested in where the story will go, and I'm looking forward to the next book.

Rating: 3/5


  1. I'm so hesitant about this one! I thought Ninth House was going to be my favorite Leigh book ever but I felt pretty medium about it. I was hoping Hell Bent would make me love this series, but I'm skeptical after reading your review. It'll probably be a little while before I pick it up anyway since Royal Mail has been holding my copy hostage in the UK while the work out their international mail delivery issues lol!

    1. Lol, I hope you get it soon! I feel like I'm the odd man out with this one because every other review I've seen has been 5 stars, so maybe you'll enjoy it more than me!