Archibald Lox and the Sinkhole to Hell by Darren Shan

Archibald Lox and the Sinkhole to Hell is Book 7 of 9 in Darren Shan’s latest series and releases on May 31, 2022. ARC provided by author.

As this book begins the last three installments in the series, I will try to remain spoiler-free. If you have not read any of Shan’s latest series, I highly recommend you check out Book 1 (available for free on Amazon) and see what you’ve been missing. The series begins with Archie skipping school and winding up following a strange girl through a borehole into a world he’s never imagined–the Merge, a world for those killed in the Born (the “real” world). While in the Merge, he doesn’t age, discovers talents he never knew, explores amazing places, and meets some of the nicest (and worst) people that will change the direction of his life forever.

Archibald Lox and the Sinkhole to Hell opens several years after Book 1. Archie has grown into a teenager (cocky and overconfident at times, scared and looking for reassurance at others) and developed his lockpicking skills far beyond his master’s. While showing Kojo around, Archie and Inez run into each other, and Archie is dragged (very willingly) into another adventure in the Merge.

Despite being filled with old foes, new friends, emerging emotions, and more secrets than a secret society, Book 7 is the tamest of the series so far. It is the lull before the storm. It was great seeing old friends mentioned (a rat never forgets their debts, after all) and fabulous meeting new ones who will see us through to the end, but some events come out of nowhere and feel awkward–however, I know they will have a pivotal role in the last two books because Shan rarely includes something, or someone, for no reason, and I can’t wait to see how they help save the day.

Book 7 definitely brings the smiles, chuckles, gasps, burns, and frustrations one can expect from Shan. Leaving Archie, Inez, and Jickey in the predicament they are in was a brilliant move. I can only hope luck is on their side.

Every book in the series raises new questions, new possibilities, and new paths Shan could be taking. I cannot wait to see these questions answered and discover whether I’ve been on the right road since last year.

Cirque du Freak/The Saga of Darren Shan will always be my favorite Shan series, but Archibald Lox is certainly giving it a run for the title.

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