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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

Hell’s Horizon

Today, a review of the middle book in Darren Shan’s The City Trilogy. Perhaps less successful than the first, this is still a must-read for fans of Procession of the Dead.

SHAN, Darren. Hell’s Horizon. Bk 2. 336p. (The City Trilogy). Grand Central. 2011. Tr $19.99. ISBN 978-0-446-55173-1. LC number unavailable.  Hell's Horizon

Adult/High School–The companion to The Procession of the Dead (2010) is set in the same strange city peopled with gangsters, villains, and blind Incan priests and ruled over by the enigmatic Cardinal. The action here is roughly concurrent in time, but with only a few overlapping characters. Al Jeery is one of the Cardinal’s guards, a good soldier who only kills on command, and who is defined by his failed marriage and his alcoholism (now under control). When his current girlfriend is brutally murdered and the Cardinal assigns the case to Al, things go from bad to worse: the girlfriend was a prostitute, Al’s long-missing father is a professional killer, it’s all a set up by the secret cabal that controls the city from below–and that’s just the beginning. Likable Al lacks depth, and too many plot points will be familiar to readers of the first book. Al comes across as having little to live for, making the destruction of everything he loves feel a bit purposeless (although that purpose is the heart of the mystery). His journey from redemption (recovery) into darkness is certainly bleak, and Shan has mastered horror, but here the sense of macabre glee in his material is missing. Still, fans of the first volume will appreciate the plot twists and turns and a greater sense of the players, perhaps leading up to a showdown or resolution in the final volume.– Karyn N. Silverman, LREI (Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School), New York City

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.