HellBent is a fictional novel that has been published in 2005 by Anthony McGowan. In this novel, the author tells us about the story of a teenager boy Connor O’Neil and his lap dog. Unfortunately, Connor along with his dog is run over by an ice-cream truck and is doomed to hell. Though the theme of the novel deals with a simple story, it is well received by the public.

HellBent Review of the story drives me into the world of surprise; in the very outset of the story, a death of only sixteen years old boy with his dog creates a horrific atmosphere in the story. However, the drastic scene of death takes a turn to the reader’s surprise. The picture of hell is very different from the cliché of ancient thoughts. According to his expectations, Connor does not meet any pain, drastic flames of fire, horrible hell serpents and adders or anything else. The writer intends to show that physical torture is less horrible than mental torture in this modern world of depression and anxiety. For example, as in Doctor Faustus, the author, Christopher Marlowe, has also shown us the mirror of mental agony by describing the inner conflict of Faustus’ mind. That is somewhat, similar to this one.

Hellbent review

HellBent Review

Here, Connor meets a beautiful naked angel who informs him that hell is like a heaven for someone. As Satan in Paradise Lost book, one says that it is the mind that makes a heaven of hell and hell of heaven. In this story, the author paints a very unusual picture of Hell. Perhaps, he is meant to renunciate the fear of hell from a human’s mind. The angel named Francessa further informs him that he will enjoy here with homosexual people, naked women, classical music of love; thus, this hell will become an ideal heaven for Connor.

HellBent Review shows that in the novel, the author adds two more strange stories about Olaf and Scrote, who embark on a long journey and if they are captured on the way, they will be destroyed forever. However, Olaf is caught and eventually obliterated. After approaching the heaven of Connor, Olaf comes to know that Clarence has deceived him. Olaf takes revenge from Clarence, and he also betrays him. So his death sentence is diminished, but when he intends to assist Connor, he is sentenced to death for good.

Lever of Destruction

Now, Connor and Scrote are doomed to their fascinating heaven. But this wonderful place of heaven has transformed into a tormented place. Thus, Connor puts a glance on a lever of destruction; consisting of both plus and minus. Connor hopes that through this lever, he can be reborn in any other figure/animal. So for that purpose, he changes the position of the lever and waits for reincarnation. But the writer McGowan leaves the conclusion of the story on the readers ends to decide. He does not explain whether the characters’ wish was fulfilled or not.


HellBent Review shows that in the novel, McGowan succeeds to create humor in this horrific story at the time when he mentions the meal being served in hell. All human characters and demons living in hell are detestable. However, Connor is a friendly character.

Bottom Line

I suggest that those who cannot tolerate such horrible scenes and figures should avoid reading this book. But the students of English literature can understand this book because I think after reading the picture of hell in the novel, Paradise Lost and Doctor Faustus, one can easily digest this book. It is up to you to decide.

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