In this novel, the 9th installment in the series, Betsy and her half-sister, also know as The Anti-Christ, go to hell, literally. Betsy only agrees to this unholy visit downstairs to help Laura and to be able to read The Book of Dead. Satan wants her daughter to see her domain and explore her demonic powers, because if she doesn't she will probably go insane. As expected things go horribly wrong, how could they not?
Laura and Betsy have to do some time-traveling and from then on the story picks up becoming very fast-paced. The sister's infernal adventures are fun to read and very enlightening. At first I was worried that Sink Lair Sinclair and Tina (two of my favorite characters) wouldn't be getting a lot of "page time". I was wrong. We get a lot of backstory about the vampiric power duo, which was delightful to read. I had never really considered their pasts. Once Betsy started to think that she never took the time to really get to know them and became curious about that before embarking in her dreaded hellish tour, I realized I was eager to know more too. I was not disappointed. We learned a lot about their history. A lot of questions were answered about Sinclair's love for Betsy and Tina's devotion to her.
I missed the presence of the rest of the cast of characters, since this adventure was centered around Betsy, Laura, Tina and Sinclair, but that is to be expected since there are so many of them now. The book had a lot of twists and turns that I appreciated. I think Laura is totally going to go to the dark side, but I might be wrong. I have seen some interesting theories about it around the internet. I won't get into them, but some do seem to make sense. There were some minor inconsistencies, and Betsy felt a little out of character sometimes (her voice seemed a little different to me). However, I think they aren't inconsistencies at all and will prove to be relevant in the future. Keep in mind we are talking about alternative realities here. I won't say anything else about it though.
I won't spoil you, but the ending was very surprising. I read a lot of complaints about it, but besides being shocked, I was rather pleased with it. I thought it was very original and completely unexpected. I don't think the book ends in a bad note and it is not a cliffhanger in my opinion. I think the people who didn't enjoy it are interpreting what they read incorrectly. It's not like things are set in stone, it just gave the reader some food for thought about what will happen ahead. Keep in mind that time-traveling was involved, and as we all are aware of, as are Betsy and Laura, you never know how your actions are affecting the future. Isn't that time-traveling 101?
I was pleased with the story, it was a fun and light read, as are the other books. Maybe the humor wasn't as sharp as in some of the previous novels, because this is a darker book, but it was still very amusing. I have only one complaint. It involves a big pet-peeve that I have: the dreaded recap of previous story lines in the beginning of a book that is part of a long series. I don't know why many authors do that. It is very annoying. I've read all the books, I know what happened. I don't need to be told it again. If I wasn't paying attention, I wouldn't be reading the series for so long. I don't want to blame the authors, because I don't know if that is their idea, or if the publishers make them do it. I just wish they would stop doing this, it has become quite common.
So, if you are a fan of the series you simply must read this book. It may not be the best one, but I think it sets up very interesting and challenging issue that Betsy will have to deal with in upcoming books. I think this one can be consider a transitional installment, but a very necessary one if MJD is going in the direction I think she is. You might even hate the ending, but it will leave you thinking about it long after you are done and surely asking for more. This books is darker and it's about choices. I think this installment will prove to be a very important one, so pay close attention.