The Devil's Engine: Hellraisers
Booklist Reviews 2015 November #1
Fifteen-year-old Marlow is fighting his asthma as he races away from his school expulsion, when he finds (and joins) an unbelievable battle between humans with astonishing powers (Engineers) and inanimate objects that have come to life and are intent on destruction. The Engineers are the products of the Engine, a machine of the devil that transforms and grants powers for the price of one's soul, then comes to claim them with crushingly destructive force when payment is due. Filled with violent clashes between Engineers and devils, and Engineers and rival Engineers, this book packs a punch for teens looking for nonstop action—though it takes a while to get to the motivation behind the Engineers' constant fighting. Marlow is a likable, flawed underdog of a hero, and his many comrades in arms gradually gain dimension as the plot progresses. First in a planned trilogy, Smith's latest is largely going to appeal to readers in it for the gritty action and horror. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Spring
Marlow, a defiant teen with problems both at school and at home, is unwittingly drafted into a war between good and evil that he's never noticed taking place around him. Heavy on action, light on character development, this novel leaves a great deal unexplained until the end, which may frustrate some readers.
PW Reviews 2015 September #3
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.)[Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC