cover image Hellraisers


Alexander Gordon Smith. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-374-30169-9

The road to hell is paved with good intentions in this first book in Smith’s Devil’s Engine series, as 16-year-old Marlow Green is caught up in an epic conflict between good and evil. After accidentally getting involved in a vicious supernatural battle in New York City, Marlow ends up joining the Hellraisers, a secret organization that uses the infernal power of the so-called Devil’s Engine to sell their souls for superhuman abilities and other benefits. They face off against the Circulus Inferni, a rival group that is using a second Engine to try and bring about hell on Earth, leading to visceral, no-holds-barred confrontations. With the war of attrition between the two factions about to reach a critical tipping point, Smith (The Fury) conjures up an absorbing, horror-tinged world full of dark imagery and unsettling descriptions as unstoppable demons face off against superpowered teens. The premise and physicality of the Devil’s Engine lends itself well to Smith’s horror sensibilities, while his sprawling cast invokes a comic book spirit of adventure; the marriage of tropes creates a page-turning adventure. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sophie Hicks, Ed Victor. (Dec.)