Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck
Milton has successfully managed to get back to the “Stage” leaving Marlo and his friends down there. He is racked with guilt, and isn’t quite sure that Heck really even existed. Since Heck is ultimately a purgatory, Milton decides to go visit Damian in the hospital to figure out if everything that he thinks happened after the fateful marshmallow explosion actually did happen!
Meanwhile, Marlo has been moved to Rapacia – the second circle of Heck which is overseen by the Grabbit; a rhyming, mechanical bunny of sorts. The kicker is that the Grabbit’s warren is located just beneath the best mall ever. Mallvana has everything that a greedy little shoplifter like Marlo could ever want. If only she could convince her demon teachers to let her go there.
Well Marlo is Marlo, and who better to deal with demons and double crossers than she? Along with her passel of frenemies (Lyon, Bordeaux, Norm, and Jordie) Marlo is forced to wear the latest in retirement fashion, and take classes in heckonomics. Marlo isn’t surprised by much in Heck, but she soon finds herself under the Grabbit’s spell. She is jonesing to shoplift in a big way, and only to bring the spoils to her new Vice Principal. When she is approached to make the biggest heist in Heck history (the hopeless diamonds), how can she refuse? Will Marlo be able to break free of the Grabbit, or will she simply become another minion in the race to get more, more, more?
Daly E. Basye has written a darker follow up to the initial installment in the Heck series. Instead of poop and ping-pong balls, readers are exploring cultish religions, the idea of Greed with a capital “G”, as well as pondering the difference between want and need. Don’t get me wrong…it is still pun central here in Heck with references that run the sublime to the absurd, it just seems that the audience for the second book needs a maturity level a bit higher than required for Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go. Marlo has the seeds of a crush going, and even though Heck is a place where time stands still, Marlo, Milton and the other kids are growing world weary from trying to “survive”. I am interested in seeing where this series goes, since there are, after all, 7 circles you know where.