Monday 31 May 2021

Raising Hell by Bryony Pearce Blog Tour

 I recently had the pleasure of reading Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw, this was a YA fantasy that really caught my attention and renewed my love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Then along came Raising Hell by Bryony Pearce.

A new YA fantasy that in my opinion is going to make waves in this genre of book.


Once upon a time, Ivy and her friends did a very stupid thing and now there's a rift letting dark matter into the world. Dark matter that manifests as black magic which actually works. Now every teenager with access to the Internet is raising hell. Literally.

Ivy's doing her best to stem the tide, but her new job working school security barely pays the bills and there's only so much one girl with a machete (and a cat possessed by her own dead grandmother) can do against the forces of evil.

Now she's facing a teenaged goth with an attitude, a dark cabal with a terrifying agenda and a potential zombie apocalypse.

Ivy losing her job might be the best thing to happen to the world! 

Before I share my review here is a short piece from Bryony herself on the inspiration behind the character Ivy in Raising Hell:

When I run writing workshops, I have a class on building characters. I talk about pen pictures, and psychological profiles, two strengths and a flaw, hopes and fears. 

It works well. But it feels a little like cheating, as that isn’t actually how I make most of my own characters. Most of my main characters appear fully formed to me one day, and that is how Ivy turned up. She was right there, telling me her story, with her smart mouth, her talking cat and her machete. 

So, to understand the inspiration behind Ivy, I have to dig backwards, excavate my thoughts and try to work out what made her appear and where she came from. Mental archaeology. 

A lot of reviewers say that Raising Hell has a Buffy vibe. Like BTVS, the opening of Raising Hell is set in a high school, like Buffy, the main character is a sassy teenaged girl who is as kick-ass as they come, but who looks extremely unthreatening - like ‘Nancy Drew on a bad hair day’. Like Buffy, Ivy quips her way through situations, as this is her defence mechanism. She laughs to protect her heart. And yes, I was a huge Buffy fan growing up. I loved the humour in BTVS, I loved the characters and their relationships and the way that the stories hid more serious messages. 

But, unlike Buffy, Ivy is alone. She doesn’t have a team of friends to help her or a mum to keep her sane. She is colder than Buffy. She has no-one to trust.

Ivy also lives in London, not Sunnydale, and again, unlike Buffy, Ivy has a big secret, that the reason she fights so hard to protect other teenagers from supernatural forces, is that the appearance of said supernatural forces, is actually her fault. Or, at least, she feels that it is. She has a heavier load to carry than Buffy. 

Nor does Ivy have any supernatural powers of her own. Unlike Buffy, with her superstrength, her visions and her hyper-awareness of vampires, Ivy has nothing but an iron will, a load of guilt and a machete to help her stop threats. 

She also has a talking cat. I own a cat. I suspect this is why Ivy has a talking cat.

I also own a teenaged daughter. A lot of Maisie appears in Ivy – her determination, her intelligence, her need to do the right thing. 

And finally, Ivy’s name. Ivy was the name that I had chosen to give to Maisie’s sister when I was pregnant for the second time. Only, to my surprise, I turned out to be pregnant with a boy, not a girl and Maisie’s dad said that it would be wrong to name her brother Ivy.

My mother’s maiden name was Mary Elisabeth Mann. 

Hence Ivy Elisabeth Mann, perhaps because she is character of mine that I love the most. The one who got me through a hard time. The one I’d most like to put my arms around and hug. The daughter I never had.

Much Love


Now here's what I thought of the book...

Ten years ago Ivy and her friends lost someone important in their lives and after that tragedy that did a very seemingly silly thing - they tried to bring her back to life.

But this not only resulted in Ivy's boyfriend dying, it also caused a rift to open (up wide) and allow magic into the world.

Fast forward to the present day and Ivy has a job in school security, checking the pupils for hexes, spells and charms because as far as people are aware magical powers can only performed by the young, once you're not a teen anymore the powers appear to fade.

"I know what you're thinking, but I'm not half faery, or demon, or angel or anything like that. Mum's a Body Shop consultant living in a bungalow in Birmingham and Dad enters crossword competitions."

Poor Ivy doesn't have much luck when one fateful day just trying to do her best to protect others, she ends up losing her job and perhaps a piece of her sanity when it turns out that she now plays a vital role in saving the world!

The action starts from page one and continues right through to the last page.



I don't think you need to be young to read this book.

How would you deal with the end of the world, if it was all your fault?

There is a great enemies to lovers trope woven into the tale (sucker for a romance) but it doesn't distract from all the other exploits and zombie killing.

Magic, hellhounds, and a strong protagonist. Bryony has done a fabulous job of building a new and fascinating world that I'm excited to see more of.

Black magic just met it's match!

This is ultimately the tale of one kick arse young woman, her trusty machete Matilda, along with her Gran, who's soul ended up in a cat and cast of old and  new friends/comrades who are willing to sacrifice a lot to save others.


I can see this making a highly entertaining TV show, also a great graphic novel.

Go ahead and check out the rest of the blog tour for more thoughts, reviews and insights into Raising Hell.


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