Welcome to our podcast discussion of “Hell Bent” by Leigh Bardugo. In this episode, we will be delving into the highs and lows of this dark novel and examining the way the author has created a fantastical world that raises important conversations around themes such as racism, privilege, and misogyny.
First, let’s talk about the strengths of this novel. The author, Leigh Bardugo, has a firm grip on the dark academia aesthetic, creating a world that is steeped in mystery and intrigue. The book follows a group of young adults who are studying at an elite university and become embroiled in a series of murders that seem to be connected to the school’s secret societies.
The author weaves in fantastical elements seamlessly, integrating ghosts, murder mysteries, and rituals into the story in a way that feels natural and engaging. What’s particularly impressive about “Hell Bent” is the way in which Bardugo uses these elements to explore important themes.
She doesn’t shy away from addressing issues of racism, privilege, and misogyny, and she does so in a way that feels organic to the story. Rather than coming across as or preachy, the book tackles these issues head-on, with the characters confronting the ways in which their own biases and assumptions have shaped their experiences.
At the same time, the book doesn’t take itself too seriously. The characters are witty and sarcastic, and their found family dynamic adds a touch of levity to the story. The author has a talent for capturing the essence of college students participating in these events, and the dialogue is sharp and believable.
However, the book does have its flaws. While the author is clearly full of ideas, she sometimes prioritizes plot over character development, which can leave the reader feeling unsatisfied. The characters are interesting, but they never seem to get a moment to just breathe and reflect on their experiences. Instead, they are always running off after some new mystery or unexpected plot turn, which can leave the reader feeling a bit dizzy. Similarly, while the fantastical elements are engaging, they can sometimes overshadow the more subtle themes and emotional beats of the story.
All in all, “Hell Bent” is a complex and engaging novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. While it may not be perfect, it is a testament to the author’s talent for weaving together disparate elements into a cohesive whole. If you’re a fan of dark academia, murder mysteries, or just a good, old-fashioned page-turner, then this book is definitely worth a read.
Thank You for tuning into our book review podcast of Hell Bent. See You Soon in our next episode, until then keep exploring new and fascinating books.
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Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo | Booklicious Podcast | Episode 11