An Agreement with Hell

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In the divine struggle between good and evil, humans are hardly noticeable to the mal'akhim, but when an ancient seal is broken on the grounds of a California college campus, beings from dimensions beyond the balance of holy and unholy erupt from the earth. More

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Review by: Michele Lee on June 08, 2011 : star star star
An Agreement with Hell is an early comer in the new Biblical-mythos trend in fiction. Pagliassotti pits an aging priest, an aging Christian magician (in the Solomon sense) and a Walker Between Worlds (think a magical version of Neo. He sees reality different than others and can use the doorways between worlds) against, not demons, but creatures outside our dimension. These leviathans are summoned to a college campus when, of course, the seal holding them back is broken. From there Agreement is a voyage in shattered or horrific landscapes, where even the angels are creatures humans would not want to meet.

The concept of Pagliassotti's world is interesting, and that the "bad guys" aren't the demons or the angels is wryly amusing in a very bibical-themed tale. But about halfway through the book character advancement seems to just stop and what started as an interesting mystery jumps into standard horror novel fare. The addition of ineffective characters stumbling their way to heroism, and worse, the climactic scene of the whole book being told from the point of view of a character who not only has no clue about the mythos behind the story, but also cannot perceive the magic battle going on, just leaves a taste of ineffective storytelling in reader mouths. Given the stellar opening I just expected more out of the second half of the book than what was delivered.

Fans of unique horror and those fascinated by the juxtaposition of religion and horror will find this book to their tastes. Its place in libraries is difficult to determine. The subject matter makes it likely fuel for certain censor-happy types who will not appreciate the dark side of Christian legends. Also if angels and demons are what readers want there are better stories out there, such as the Hellblazer graphic novel series.

Contains: gore
(reviewed long after purchase)

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