Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Alexander Gordon Smith
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Marlow Greene just got himself expelled from the last school that would accept him. Without any plan, he wanders through New York City—right into a battle between superhumans and demons. Eventually, Marlow discovers the ancient war between humanity and demons and joins the battle himself. He learns of The Engine, a machine as old as evil that can grant any wish in exchange for your soul. But someone betrays the Engineers. Worse, it’s Marlow’s best friend whom he saved from the enemies. Now Marlow and a handful of other Engineers have less than a month to stop the demon Mammon or risk losing their own souls.
One of the novel’s strongest points is the world building. The Engine creates an interesting twist on the deal-with-the-devil trope. The abilities that people wish for in the novel show the author’s creativity. However, the book starts off slow. Marlow doesn’t understand the world until well after a hundred pages, and up till then the other characters are dragging him along. Additionally, the two main characters feel cliche—a normal guy dragged into a dangerous world, and a tough girl who doesn’t have time for love. But ultimately, Smith creates a novel that engages readers. He ends the novel in an amazing cliffhanger, ensuring that readers will pick up the next book.
*Contains moderate violence and moderate language.