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Hellbent: An Orphan X Novel

Hellbent: An Orphan X Novel

Written by Gregg Hurwitz

Narrated by Scott Brick


Hellbent: An Orphan X Novel

Written by Gregg Hurwitz

Narrated by Scott Brick

ratings:
4.5/5 (260 ratings)
Length:
12 hours
Released:
Jan 30, 2018
ISBN:
9781522649618
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Evan Smoak—government assassin gone rogue—returns in Hellbent, an engrossing, unputdownable thriller from Gregg Hurwitz, the latest in his #1 international bestselling Orphan X series.

Taken from a group home at age twelve, Evan Smoak was raised and trained as an off-the-books government assassin: Orphan X. After he broke with the Orphan Program, Evan disappeared and reinvented himself as the Nowhere Man, a man spoken about only in whispers and dedicated to helping the truly desperate.

But this time, the voice on the other end is Jack Johns, the man who raised and trained him, the only father Evan has ever known. Secret government forces are busy trying to scrub the remaining assets and traces of the Orphan Program and they have finally tracked down Jack. With little time remaining, Jack gives Evan his last assignment: find and protect his last protégé and recruit for the program.

But Evan isn't the only one after this last Orphan—the new head of the Orphan Program, Van Sciver, is mustering all the assets at his disposal to take out both Evan (Orphan X) and the target he is trying to protect.

Released:
Jan 30, 2018
ISBN:
9781522649618
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Gregg Hurwitz is the critically acclaimed author of The Tower, Minutes to Burn, Do No Harm, The Kill Clause, The Program, and Troubleshooter. He holds a B.A. in English and psychology from Harvard University and a master''s degree from Trinity College, Oxford University. He lives in Los Angeles.


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What people think about Hellbent

4.6
260 ratings / 52 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Jack Johns is the closest thing to family for Evan Smoak, the one person who cared for him. But Jack, one of the few with knowledge of the Orphans, stands in the way of someone determined to remove all traces of that program. That knowledge, it would seem, costs him his life.But Jack’s sent Evan on a mission and, despite his overwhelming sense of loss, the Nowhere Man is determined to fulfill the request. However, the package he’s sent to retrieve is not at all what he expects, and, while attempting to deal with that issue, Evan finds himself embroiled in the fallout from a request for help from a father desperate to rescue his son from a contemptible gang. All the expected players are on hand for this, Evan Smoak’s third outing as the Nowhere Man. As with previous stories, there’s plenty of action and sufficient backstory for readers new to the series [but there are nuances and insights gained from reading the series in order]. The plot is timely and compelling, the characters well-developed and multi-dimensional. Evan’s introspective contemplation in this tale gives the character added depth and is certain to endear him to readers. The complex, intriguing narrative keeps the suspense mounting and offers readers unexpected twists and turns to keep those pages turning in this unputdownable installment of the series. Highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    The best one yet!I love Evan Smoak. The Orphan X series is phenomenal and Hellbent may be the best one so far. The Nowhere Man ended on a cliffhanger that took my breath away and Hellbent had me in tears by chapter four. This is a taut, action-packed thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, rip your heart out, and give you life again. The ending was perfect, but I really hope Hurwitz isn’t done writing Orphan X novels. I’m not ready to say goodbye to Evan!
  • (4/5)
    Evan Smoak has gone through many transitions in his life. He was an orphan in a boys' home, he was taken from there at the age of 12 and trained to become a government assassin known as Orphan X. When he left the program, he became, The Nowhere Man, helping people who have nowhere else to turn. But now Smoak is out for revenge. When the last book ended, Evan gets a call from his mentor, Jack Johns, who he thought was dead. He was very much alive, but before the call ended, he was captured and ended up dead. The man responsible was Charles Van Sciver or Orphan Y. It is all a plot to get Evan and kill Orphan X once and for all.

    The same characters once again make an appearance, Mia and her son Peter, the locals in the apartment building, Tommy his go to guy for firearms and equipment as well as the addition of Joey, a sixteen year old girl who ran away from Van Scriver when he was training her to become an orphan operative. She is now on his radar and Evan has to protect her as well. The story grabbed me right from the beginning. The suspense and excitement keeps building throughout the story until you know Van Sciver and Evan Smoak will meet face to face. The story's plot is detailed and the characters are extremely interesting. I thought this was the end of the trilogy, but the ending leaves it open for another possible book in the series. Only time will tell. Once again there is a lot of violence in the story, so if that bothers you, then this book is not for you. The addition of Joey to this story makes it a little softer and we get to see another side of Evan. I recommend it to thriller/action/suspense lovers. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
  • (3/5)
    Third in a well written series, actually looking forward to more when available. Yes, the plot stretched the credible, but I am not able to think of a work that does not as well. Characters are well developed with understandable motives, desires, etc. It should be interesting to see what develops with the new villain as Evan polished off the old one. Also will the new girl in town steal the story or become one on her own. Lots to look forward to, completely enjoyable and surprisingly after three stories still not worn out.
  • (4/5)
    Thanks to goodreads and the publisher for a free copy of Hellbent!

    I admittedly have not read any of the previous Orphan X books, so I was a little bit out of my depth. But this is nothing if not a gripping read with compelling, mysterious, revenge-driven characters. Definitely recommended, and I will be picking up the rest of the series.
  • (3/5)
    I've been enjoying the Orphan X series; Hellbent really throws a monkey wrench into the mix! It had some slow, "really?" moments for me, but I burned through it, and was pleased with the ending, a 3.5, really. Great characters!Recommended for Bourne fans.
  • (5/5)
    This is third book in the Orphan X series, and it is the best so far! Evan Smoak is by far the best rogue assassin in the literary world. In this book he must deal with his nemesis after he kills the only person Smoak is close to - his handler Jack Jones. Along the way he finds himself with a sidekick - a 16-year-old girl who was rejected by the Orphan program and was scheduled to be eliminated. Teaming up, they must not only avenge Jones' death, but solve the problems for others as well as simply stay alive. The action is intense, the details exquisite and the storyline is awesome. I am very hopeful that there will be another as the book left us wondering how Smoak will deal with corruption in the highest levels of government.
  • (5/5)
    Evan Smoak is part man, part machine, and 100% badass. This book gives you no breathing room. It's not a book you relax into or meander through. The content is intense and the pace quick. Evan doesn't tread lightly. His world is dark and dangerous, and Gregg Hurwitz doesn't spare details. We see the violence play out as Evan leaves destruction behind in his quest for vengeance. But this violence isn't at all gratuitous or needlessly graphic. We are placed in Evan's world, and it's not for the feint of heart. While this book could probably be read as a stand-alone, I highly suggest reading books 1 and 2 first. Evan's character has a unique and fascinating background. Hurwitz does weave some of the backstory into this book, so new readers wouldn't be totally lost, but you'd miss the intricacies of his character and his relationships. I love how Evan's character is evolving through this series. In this third book, we see him struggle with his newfound desire for what he views as a normal life. But someone always needs the unique kind of help only he can offer. And, this time, his mission is a lot more personal. This is definitely the kind of story that you live while reading, so you forget everything else and experience an adrenaline rush for a few hours.*The publisher provided me with a review copy, via Amazon Vine, in exchange for my honest review.*
  • (4/5)
    The sign of a good book is one entertains you and teaches you something. Hurwitz managed to both in spades with this latest Orphan X book. I found myself repeating searching Google images for things like "one wheeled motorcycles", "tattooing the whites of your eye", "floating beds", and "MS-13 tattoos". Which in itself were all very interesting and entertaining. I won't even get into what these books most do for high-end vodka sales. Evan Smoak, aka Orphan X, with each book is finding his human side. Not easy for a child orphan raised darker-than-black-ops assassin. But despite his best effort to not make any connections with members of the civilized world, he keeps finding himself caring more than a cold-blooded murder should. Joey by far was the star of this book though. I was a bit worried for awhile that Hurwitz was taking a page of Baldacci's Will Robie's series with her but I quickly got past that. This was much better. I won't say more about that though because to say more would spoil this read for others. Even the acknowledgements at the back of the book are highly recommended reading. This is without a doubt my favorite of the series so far. He just keeps getting better and better.
  • (4/5)
    In this, the third book in the Orphan X series, Gregg Hurwitz delivers another fast-paced, action-packed story with his fascinating main character, Evan Smoak. Evan is evolving again as he tries to open the door to let others into his life a millimeter at a time. Unfortunately he's well-aware that his former life as Orphan X makes it dangerous to be part of his life. Add to that his current life as the Nowhere Man, using the skill set he learned as Orphan X to help people in extreme danger. This time though he's trying to help teen washed-out orphan, while he continues to be pursued by another orphan who's been tasked with eliminating him. At the same time, he's grieving the loss of his mentor/father figure, AND he's attempting to help his next Nowhere Man "client". As usual, there's a lot of action, and once again the ending of this one left me ready to move on to the next one - which sadly won't be released until January 2019. Well played, Mr. Hurwitz, well played. Just take my pre-order money now!
    Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books for providing a copy for an unbiased review. I listened to parts on Scribd and Scott Brick's narration added another dimension to the story for me.
  • (5/5)
    The author weaves Evan through three main plots creating enough tension as he moves in time from one to the other to keep you wanting to return to each one as it unfolds. Although the ending might be considered predictable, it is done unpredictably. It may be my favorite...
  • (5/5)
    My third book in the series or Orphan X all I can say is wow! I’ll say it again backwards wow!
  • (5/5)
    Great story. I'm going to jump right into the next book right now!
  • (5/5)
    What an amazing series. If you like legitimately solid writing, this author can’t be beat. Excellent character development, introspective dialogue, and Scott Brick as the narrator makes this entire series a five star win.
  • (5/5)
    Wow, amazing, keep these books coming! What can I say I love this series, definitely read it!
  • (5/5)
    The action, the rush which comes with the final denouement is always intense. Well done again.
  • (5/5)
    The story was very good! There was lots of suspense, however, the last minute or so of the story was cut off.
  • (4/5)
    While Hellbent is a sequel to Bloodshot, I don’t think it’s strictly necessary to read them in order, although I’d suggest it if you can. The plots are largely independent, and Hellbent has a recap type thing to fill you in on what you need to know. Namely, that Raylene is a vampire thief living in Seattle. For most of her existence she’s been solitary, but within the last six months she’s moved in with a blind vampire (Ian) and two homeless kids and gained an ex-navy SEAL drag queen (Adrian) as a best friend.The renovations to her building have cut into her supply of cash, so Raylene accepts a job that’s supposed to be totally easy – steal a box of bones out of an everyday home. Only, turns out a schizophrenic sorceress is also after them. And if Raylene didn’t have enough going on, the patriarch of Ian’s old vampire House has died, and the new regime needs to make sure that Ian can’t be in the running for succession.The plot was faced paced, but it felt very episodic. Maybe it was the result of all these interlocking plot threads? It felt like the book was moving very clearly from one scene to another, and it sort of cut into the tension.One thing I did like was how Raylene relates to Elizabeth, the aforementioned schizophrenic sorceress. Raylene’s neurotic and possibly got OCD, which back when she was alive in the 1920s got her a diagnosis of hysteria for which she was lucky not to wind up in an institution. Elizabeth hasn’t had any such luck, and Raylene sees some sort of commonality between them.Hellbent doesn’t pick up any of the plot threads from Bloodshot. It almost feels like a detour, only it’s unclear whether there’ll ever be more books for the series. Priest only had a contract for two books, and there’s currently no plans for a third.I’ve enjoyed both Bloodshot and Hellbent, and I’d recommend them to anyone looking for a couple of fun urban fantasy stories.Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
  • (4/5)
    The premise: ganked from BN.com: Vampire thief Raylene Pendle doesn’t need more complications in her life. Her Seattle home is already overrun by a band of misfits, including Ian Stott, a blind vampire, and Adrian deJesus, an ex-Navy SEAL/drag queen. But Raylene still can’t resist an old pal’s request: seek out and steal a bizarre set of artifacts. Also on the hunt is a brilliant but certifiably crazy sorceress determined to stomp anyone who gets in her way. But Raylene’s biggest problem is that the death of Ian’s vaunted patriarch appears to have made him the next target of some blood-sucking sociopaths. Now Raylene must snatch up the potent relics, solve a murder, and keep Ian safe -- all while fending off a psychotic sorceress. But at least she won’t be alone. A girl could do a lot worse for a partner than an ass-kicking drag queen -- right?My Rating: Good ReadConsidering that I consider Cherie Priest to be a favorite author of mine, it's a relief that I liked this, since I had a lot of reservations about the first book in the series. However, a few things happen in this book that help me understand the heroine from a new and different angle, and in this book, she's not acting out of self-interest, but for the benefit of others, and that in and of itself makes a world of difference. In Hellbent, Raylene actually has something to lose, which makes for a much more interesting read. The world-building is also expanded to the point that we really get to see how Raylene fits into the overall world of vampires, and all of it leads to some interesting and tenuous alliances. Hellbent officially has me hooked on the series, so I'm looking forward to seeing where Priest goes next.Spoilers, yay or nay?: Nay. The book is too new to be spoiled, so I won't. The full review may be found in my blog for those of you interested, and as always, comments and discussion are most welcome.REVIEW: Cherie Priest's HELLBENTHappy Reading!
  • (5/5)
    I got an advanced reading copy of this book through Librarything's early Reviewer program. I was soo excited to read this. I love pretty much everything I have read by Cherie Priest (I've read all her Clockwork Century series and of course the first book in this series, Bloodshot). Well I loved this book too. It was so much fun to read; definitely not as serious as her Clockwork Century series but a very fun, fast paced urban fantasy series with a lot of humor.Our favorite OCD vampire thief, Raylene, is back with more hijinks. Raylene gets a call from one of her contacts asking her to steal some very valuble magical baculum (penis bones..uh yep that's what baculum are). It looks to be a simple snatch and grab, of course things aren't ever simple. Along with this snatch and grab gone wrong, Raylen's housemate Ian has problems of his own. The head of Ian's House has died and Ian would be next in line, except with his blindness he isn't suited for the position and is being hunted down instead. So Raylene and Adrian (the drag queen ex-Navy Seal) go over to Ian's House to try and fix things up for him; along the way they may even find out more about Adrian's sister.This book has three plot lines going on: the stealing of the baculum, Ian's problems with his house, and the search for Adrian's missing sister. These plots are neatly and efficiently woven together making for a fast-paced, action packed urban fantasy that is hard to put down and fun to read.The characters are part of what make this book wonderful. Raylene is quirky, hilarious, and very good at what she does. Adrian is another wonderful quirky character, that is a load of laughs, but also very bad-ass. There pretty much aren't any characters in this book that I don't like; they are all interesting, engaging, creative and...did I already mention fun?!The dialogue throughout is also witty. The banter between Raylene and Adrian is hilarious. I absolutely love Raylene's snarky attitude and enjoy her constant digressions to only slightly related topics. Just beware there are numerous sexual references (but no sex) throughout and a crapload of swearing. I enjoyed it, but it is not for younger readers.I love where this series is going, some big things happen right at the end of the book that make me excited to see where this series is headed to. The main plotlines are nicely wrapped up. You could probably read this book as a stand alone; good background is given in the beginning of the book. Why would you want to though when Bloodshot was such a fun read too? Overall I absolutely loved this book. The plot and action are well done, the characters quirky and funny, it is fast-paced and lots of fun. I love love Raylene and her snarkiness. I love where this series is going and am so excited to read the next installment. I pretty much loved everything about this book. Is this book for everyone? Probably not, the humor is a bit off-the-wall and dark, there's a lot of swearing, and pretty much no romance. But, if you love fast-paced action-packed urban fantasy with a biting sense of humor you should definitely check this series out.
  • (3/5)
    Hellbent is the second book in a series following vampire Raylene Pendle, who earns her living as a high-stakes thief and collects various odds and ends type people in her Seattle home. I wasn't aware when I requested this book that it was the second in a series - I just recognized Priest's name from the fabulous Boneshaker. The book quickly made it clear, though, in the same way it makes most things clear - agonizingly awkward and clunky exposition. Hellbent is written in first person, which means that we get a lot of Ray's voice. Unfortunately, Ray's voice is really, really annoying. Priest is going for a devil-may-care sort of attitude that starts to find itself challenged by the various people who come into Ray's life, but because she relies so very much on always-tell-rarely-show, it comes off as forced and unbelievable. It's bad writing and, unfortunately, because it's first person it leads to bad /character/. A book later, I have no firm grasp on who Ray is, and worse, I don't care. The same goes for all the misfits she's collected into her life, including the extremely tepid and boring pseudo-maybe-romance with a blind vampire named Ian. What rescues this book from a much lower rating is the fact that the plot moved and I was a little bit interested in it. There are some fun things with vampire houses and vampire politics, as well as lots of (poorly expository'd) call-backs to what I presume was the previous book's plot about government experiments on vampires. It feels like there is probably an interesting world under here somewhere. But the clutter on top is way too annoying for me to try to find it in any future installments.
  • (3/5)
    Fun second installment of the Cheshire Red Reports. While I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first, Raylene is still as neurotic as ever. Much of the conflict is resolved rather conveniently however, and the relationship between her and her drag queen sidekick seemed strangely forced this time around. I was hoping for hilarious camaraderie and instead got a lot of self interest. I'm at a loss to explain Raylene's attachment to him when he doesn't seem to like her at all. Not much in the story goes the way you would think it would but somehow it still managed to be unsurprising. I like most of the secondary characters though and wonder what shenanigans Raylene will get up to next.
  • (5/5)
    Cherie Priest is proving to be quite the awesome voice not only in steampunk/alternate history but also in urban fantasy. I think I loved this one even more than the first – it was really that great! That, and I nearly peed myself laughing with some of the exchanges with Raylene and the rest of the gang. If you thought the last book was fun, “Hellbent” far exceeded expectations and is definitely on my top ten list for the year.Okay, the entire first half of the book with the baculi (cock rocks, dick sticks, etc – I can’t imagine what kind of time Priest had sitting thinking all of those euphemisms up!) was comedy gold. And Pita – I kind of want a Pita of my very own. The character change in Raylene in the interim between the first and now this second book is huge, in terms of how she’s associating with people – undead or not. She’s still the hilarious, semi-nuts, OCD-ridden vampire thief we all know and love, but it’s so nice to see her with what ends up becoming her family. Teaching us that in the end, family is not necessarily blood-only, but the ones we choose to be in our lives.The second half of the book sets up whatever’s coming for book three (whenever it’ll be announced, but I’m confident it will be because it’d be just plain cruel to leave us hanging). Samantha is less of a major player in this half of the book, but she’s still part of the team, and an important one at that. I love how Priest resolved Adrian’s search for his sister at the end of this book — she didn’t drag it out too long, but at the same time, the problem with both Ian and Isabelle isn’t solved yet, and it sets up for the ultimate boss fight against the big bad for book three. And the fact that Raylene sets up a House (for all)! That was great. I’m kind of hoping for a war with the Houses along with the boss fight with the big bad in book three, but we’ll see what happens.If I could give it more than five stars, I would.In short? I loved every second of this book and it was agonizing to get to the end of the last page. I didn’t want to leave this world, and I still kind of don’t. But I know I’ll return soon. If you want some urban fantasy that’s not necessarily drenched in sex every five seconds (and hey, I have nothing against that, except for the fact that it’s starting to define the entire genre), give both ‘Hellbent” and “Bloodshot” a try. Seriously. You won’t regret it.(posted to goodreads, librarything, shelfari, and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)
  • (4/5)
    (Book 2, Chesire Red Reports)Very enjoyable sophomore entry in Priest's urban fantasy foray. We get to see more of what makes Raylene tick and the world-building is fleshed out a bit more to support the growing secondary cast. Good urban fantasy!
  • (5/5)
    *WARNING SOME ADULT CONTENT*KIDDOS DON'T PRECEDE WITHOUT PARENT CONSENTWhat I LikedCharactersRaylene: She is a very fun character, witty, sarcastic and thoroughly entertaining throughout the entire book. Her OCD just adds to the amusement and enhanced the book. Some of the things she makes jokes about are the funniest ever like the running joke about the dick sticks (sorry can't explain more without spoiling the book) and my favorite "oh my did she really just say that" sentence. Context of the sentence, she is saving person from being shot at while person is creating a lot of magical power. "Holding her felt like holding a really high-powered sex toy cranked up to eleven." See what I mean this book is so entertaining because of Raylene's character, I love her.Sister Rose aka Adrian: What is not to love about him! We first met him in book 1 Bloodshot while he was a she and putting on an amazing performance with a fantastically curious tuck job. Raylene thinks he is straight, but he really hasn't shown interest in any male or female. He can go from talking about clothes and make up to being ready to fight and being stealthy and manly. He is a very fun and crazy combo of a personality. I want more of both Adrian and Sister Rose.No RomanceI always think of Urban Fantasy as having little romantic scenes and this series does hold very well to that though process. Raylene has some interest in Ian, but nothing is ever expanded about what they do except kiss/make out. The book is more centered around the characters, the trials they are facing, how well she can squeeze out of the current mess and accumulating more "pets" to get the "full set". All the entertainment more than makes up for the lack of romance.I Want MoreThere isn't anything I didn't enjoy about this book. I like having a break from romantic interludes so I don't mind the non existent romantic tension. I am hoping for more potential books in the series. I know Cherie said that there was only going to be 2 books in the series, but the ending is left open enough to continue on with another book or even 2. Hopefully demand for the series will be enough to ensure more books.RecommendationGreat urban fantasy series with great action and lots of fun ADULT humor. Vampire fans need to read this series as well.
  • (4/5)
    This book continues the adventures of the OCD vampire thief, her ex-Navy SEAL friend, the blind vampire she "adopted" in the last book, and her two street kids. This time she's set on the trail of a set of supernatural bones used by a mentally ill magician at the same time as trying to find her friend's sister, and get the blind vampire safe from House politics. All the threads weave together well, and I'm looking forward to where they all go in the next installment. It's a fast paced book, I enjoyed it.
  • (5/5)
    Electronic copy provided for review by netGalleyRaylene is back and her home life is just a bit more complicated. The FBI, army, and Men in Black are off her back for the time being, but new trouble arises when Ian's old house wants him to come back (mostly to kill him) and a certifiably insane sorceress is determined to erase her past mistakes, no matter who gets in her way. And only Raylene is up to the task, but thankfully she isn't alone as Adrian, the ex-Navy SEAL/drag queen, is back for the adventure. Hopefully they'll manage to stop the sorceress before she completely destroys the world and that they'll be able to keep Ian safe as well. But hey, what's life without a bit of chaos?The first book dragged just a bit in some places, but this one? Wow...no pauses, nonstop go as soon as you set eyes on that very first page. You're hooked from the very first moment for a wild and crazy ride. Where the first one had some issues with flow of the story (mostly related to setting up the new universe) this one flows smooth as silk and then some. Since the first book created the universe and how the characters interacted with them, Priest is able to focus on the story and developing and revealing more about the characters instead of explaining the universe. We get to see how they grow and deal with change and we get a fantastic tale of intrigue, mystery, and magic all rolled into one.Priest should be congratulated and applauded for creating a series that has something for everyone. Even though the main character is female, she's easy to relate to and acts like the girl next door...provided that the girl next door kicks butt and is a master thief. No, but seriously she doesn't act like the prima dona's that you see on TV these days, but she's a real person with real issues. And Adrian comes across as a human being instead of being a stereotype of the macho man or the drag queen, he's a perfect combination of both. And the other characters are just as well developed.I can't wait to read the next volume and see what happens to Raylene and crew next.
  • (4/5)
    Received from NetGalleyOverall Rating 4.00Story Rating 3.75Character Rating 4.25NOTE: I read this out of order but will be going back to pick up Bloodshot. Cherie Priest did an excellent job of making me feel like I had not missed a thing but I loved her writing so I must pick up the first one!What I Loved: Quips, Action, Smart Leading Ladies, and a Motley Crew of misfits---this books was right up my alley! Seriously I was between giggling and cheering most of Hellbent. Plus the whole "P*nis Bones" side caper was just the right balance of action/lightness.What I Liked: The main story of tracking Adrian's sister and getting Ian out trouble was pretty good. I think this is probably where not reading the books in order probably had me a little disconnected. However, it was really well balanced and I was happy with how it all turned out.Complaints: NoneWhy I gave it a 4: I was really surprised at how much I really liked Hellbent. I will be continuing this series and can't wait to pick up book 1 to catch up!
  • (4/5)
    A great sequel. I thought Priest really found Raylene's "voice" in this installment. A theme going through the book is that Raylene, once a lone wolf, has assembled a family of sorts. These are the folks she rescued her helped in the first book. And she just might so unexpectedly collect more!There are a few great adventures here, but mostly I enjoyed how Raylene's relationships are developing. Highly recommend and can't wait for the next one. (No pressure, Cherie!)
  • (5/5)
    This is the second in this series and I look forward to the next one eagerly. The plot is fast paced and makes for an quick and fun read. Priest manages character conversations with such natural rhythm that you are are part of them. The characters banter like you do with friends in a bar or coffee shop. They are people who you want to be with.

    There is no sense of drippy morality about the horror of being a monster, or about heroic, self sacrificing, world saving efforts. Its endearing quality is the fact that Raylene is out to save her friends and make money. She has no ethical qualms about what she has to do to achieve it. She doesn't apologize for being a vampire and she doesn't have any hint of moral rectitude. No where does she try to explain away her actions either. Its who she is. For all of that, she is a decent person, doing her level best to protect her own. And you love her for it.

    Priest was gutsy to ignore the incessant morality that tends to clog these types of supernatural tales. For example, Raylene rescues and befriends someone who most authors would have relegated to psycho villain and felt perfectly safe doing so. Instead we are left with someone who has done terrible things and is now sitting in the chair as a friend and possible powder keg. It creates complexity and tension and nagging sense that there might be more to this novel than just a fun, 'don't think too hard' romp.