September 10, 2021

Michael James: "The Well at the Bottom of Everything"

Title: The Well at the Bottom of Everything [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: The Hotel (2nd of 3 books)
Author: Michael James [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Supernatural
Year: 2021
Age: 16+
Stars: 4/5
Pros: Entertaining twist on the portal fantasy/multiverse genre and the accidental heroes + found family tropes. Humorous and adrenalinic. The Hotel setting steps up the game (and the fun) with respect to Book 1.
Cons: There's some woman vs. woman hostility about a man and a sort of love triangle (they aren't the same thing though). The humour might not be everyone's cup of tea.
WARNING! Gore and violence.
Will appeal to: Those who like a crazy story that never lets up about a bunch of improbable heroes.

Blurb: Vain thought destroying the Portal to the Hotel at the End of Time would mean freedom for her and Roman, but her happy ever after is coming to an end. A horrible mistake and a stray bullet force her to infiltrate the Hotel and contend with a new and terrible power: The Well at the Bottom of Everything. Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. The Hotel will have its revenge. (Amazon)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I specifically requested an ecopy from the author. This didn't influence my review in any way.
Also...gotta love a cover that fits my blog 😂. Seriously though, this is an indie series and the covers are STUNNING. Not to mention, these books are so well edited. So much for prejudice.

SPECIAL GETAWAY

I went into this book expecting a riot, and I wasn't disappointed. If anything, The Well at the Bottom of Everything is even more entertaining and adrenalinic than its predecessor (no second book syndrome here!). After destroying the Portal to the Hotel, the gang has been trying to adjust to a "normal" life, with varying degrees of success (unsurprisingly, being "normal" isn't Vain's strong suit 😂), until a matter of life or death forces them to do the very last thing they would want: find a way back to the Hotel in order to kidnap a healer. Seriously, no sweat. What ensues is an action, humour and surprise-packed romp (though not without some brutal and dramatic incidents) that reads like a videogame on acid and at the same time addresses (if often ironically) the pain of human relationships, both of the friendly and the romantic kind.
The thing I loved most, though, was the Hotel itself, ever-shifting and slowly deteriorating after the Portal destruction, nothing short of a character in its own right. Also, the purpose of the Well (where the Hotel's "guests" are forced to endlessly pour energy) is finally revealed, and it's an unexpected game-changer that forces us to sympathise with the villain (to an extent) and exponentially ups the stakes. The book ends with a cliffhanger (or two), and while I'm usually a bit critical of those, in this case it's the perfect hook to the next installment, which will focus on the infamous Elevator to Everywhere while still addressing (arguably, since I believe it will be the last book in the series) the can...or Well...of worms that's been opened at the Hotel itself. [...]

HOTEL ODDITY

As with Book 1, I found the plot/action (and in this case, the setting as well) to be the most satisfying trait of this installment. Don't get me wrong - James was able to create a bunch of fresh/quirky characters (minions and villains included) with enough agency and interesting dynamics - or, at the very least, funny banters - to keep the story going, and the humour is/has been a driving force all throughout the book/series so far, not to mention, a feature that makes it stand out in a sea of supernatural-action-fueled adventures. But I tend to be more on board with books where the humour takes a back seat (though there are some priceless scenes in here, especially the ones with the...portable Portal 😂) and the characters are less defined by their quirks. Also, on the one hand I understand that Vain's relationship with Roman is unique and complicated (not love, not mere friendship - an entanglement that served the Hotel's purposes when they both were prisoners there, and has them bonded for life), and her abandonment issues about his dating Emma are very human; but on the other, I could have made without the Roman-centered hostility between Vain and Emma. Heaven knows there are enough woman-vs.-woman scenarios in books or movies or shows (though they're becoming rarer lately). That said, I had a great time at the Hotel, and I'm very much looking forward to the next adventure, which will plunge our characters into familiar, yet unseen places and times...

For my "The Hotel at the End of Time" review (first installment in the series) click here.
For my "The Elevator at the Brink of Infinity" review (third installment in the series) click here.
For more Adult books click here.
For more Supernatural books click here.

10 comments:

  1. "The Hotel will have its revenge." Now THAT has me curious!

    I love the sound of the humor, even though a little goes a long way for me sometimes in stories like this- sounds like we kind of agree on that. And the relationships sound nicely done as well. This sounds great!

    Love the cover!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I love the sound of the humor, even though a little goes a long way for me sometimes in stories like this- sounds like we kind of agree on that."
      We should find a book to buddy-read one day - I'm sure it would be fun!

      This series...I can see it appeal to you, seriously.

      Delete
    2. I'd be all for it!!!

      Delete
    3. I hope we can find a book!

      Delete
  2. That Well sounds creepy but the story sounds really interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That cover does seem tailor made for this site. Glad to hear the cover wasn't the only great thing about this book. It's so satisfying when a series holds up for you with each installment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Glad to hear the cover wasn't the only great thing about this book."
      I have always championed self-pub/small-pub books and always will. The stigma is largely unjustified.

      Delete
  4. I do love supernatural books that still keep up a good bit of humour. Something that makes me stray away from fantasy/supernatural are when they're just too serious. This book seems to have a good balance, which is good to hear!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Something that makes me stray away from fantasy/supernatural are when they're just too serious."
      Yeah, fantasy (mainly high fantasy) is especially prone to seriousness, from what I see. A little humour can go a long way.

      Delete

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