This story is about a man named Jake. He has the best life he could imagine having. An awesome job as a medical doctor, the most amazing fiancé ever, and all the best buds both in the workplace and out. There’s only one thing, he’s been having these horrible nightmares about a place called The Devil’s Playground ever since his father left him and his mother when he was a younger man. Days on end, he would be thrown back into this horrific scene, only to be yanked into the real world, not letting him sleep.
It was the day of his stag do that everything went to hell, literally. Euphoric in his drunkenness, he decides to forego the highway bridge to go home, to get hit by an unknown moving car instead. He ends up in a coma, to everyone’s demise and he gets stuck in this hell hole, not knowing if he has the strength to get out of the place. Will he make it? Why was he brought there in the first place? And who is running the playground?
That GIF pretty much summarized how I pictured the Devil’s Playground while I was reading it. Jake, our main guy is a doctor, and the devil manifested the nightmare as the same hospital that he works at, only, as you can guess, more sinister. This book was really enjoyable for me. I realised I don’t really use star ratings anymore because it feels inadequate with how I feel about the books that I read. This books will be an example.
The first few chapters has managed to capture my attention. Jake was a likeable character, so is his fiancé, Sam for the matter. I was starting to get invested into their relationship and the story dynamics when he got into the accident and transported to the playground. I admit, the first few scenes when he is in the nightmare scared me. It gave me a bit of a Silent Hill vibes and that is terrifying. Alice J. Black did a fantastic job at making the atmosphere creepy enough and building the tension at a good level throughout the book. The whole journey through the maze that is the hospital made me feel on edge, waiting for the inevitable when someone – something – will show itself or jump right at him. Only, I found that the actual showing up of the monsters and the encounter left a lot to desire, personally. I don’t know if it was the briefness of the contact or the way they just kind of disappear once he passes a certain room, but it was a bit anti-climactic.
As a character, Jake has a strong disposition and will to live. He never once gave up even when at times an average person would probably just have given up. I understand that humans aren’t that easily broken. We will not be put in that situation and immediately turn crazy, in general. Will we get there? Eventually, maybe. But the human mind can be really resilient and I think Jake showcases that. Sam, the fiancé on the other hand, I had a really hard time sympathizing with. Yes, the love of her life got hit and run and now he’s in a coma. I get that, the heartbreak must be unreal. But my main issue with her, and the rest of her scenes in the book would be, she became a bit annoying to me. Literally, from the point when Jake got in the accident and into the hospital, until the end of the book when he woke up, she was constantly playing the blame game and crying about him and just thinking about him 24/7, non stop.
I know that’s how it works, grief I mean. It personally wasn’t that interesting story wise. It bothered me to the point where I would pretty much skim read or skip her scenes because I know she would only talk about how she wants Jake to wake up and how much she loves him and how guilty she feels like for sleeping and enjoying her meal because he is in a coma. It gets tiring. If that part of the book wasn’t like that I would have enjoyed the story more.
Granted, this wasn’t an awful book by any means. I did enjoy it, although I got a bit lost near the end, also because even in Jake’s perspective, he didn’t figure out what was happening until the end. And when he did figure it out, it was time for him to wake up and the next book is kindly hinted at.
This is a solid book regardless. I would recommend it to anyone interested in reading a horror story with a good dash of mystery in it. I know not everything that didn’t work for me would have the same result in other people. Those are just some of my observations.
If you are interested in her work, please follow her on all the social medias! Again, thank you, thank you for providing me with a copy for this review! I greatly appreciate it!
Facebook: Alice J. Black
Blog: her wordpress site
Have you read any good horror stories lately? Are you even into these types of stories or are you a bit wussy like me? Comment down below, let’s chat!
Lots of love,