Jack’s best mate, Charlie, has always been effortlessly cool. When Charlie wakes up one day and finds a mysterious, moving black tattoo on his back, it’s a clear sign that he’s even cooler than Jack thought. To top it off, Charlie is suddenly able to fight like a kung-fu master, fly, and control the minds of others. Yes, he’s got super powers.
Or does he?
Jack soon learns the terrifying truth: Charlie’s incredible powers come from an age-old demon called the Scourge, who is using Charlie to bring about its evil master plan. To stop the Scourge, Jack and Charlie join forces with Esme, a girl with super powers of her own, trained from birth to fight the demon. But time is running out, as Charlie falls deeper under the Scourge’s dark spell.
When the Scourge vanishes with Charlie, Jack and Esme follow their friend from the streets of London into Hell itself, where they face horrors that may well cost them their lives. Can they survive to outwit the Scourge, save Charlie, and stop an even greater evil?
Soon as I read the premise for this book I was looking forward to reading it as it sounded very interesting. I am afraid I was disappointed, to say the least. The idea of a demon that tattoos itself on people to get them to do his bidding was not one you see every day and I expected all sorts of "cool" moments with the demon tattoo working his magic. Although the book was off to a good start it quickly went downhill. Everything was pretty much a cliché and felt as if the author had some sort of fantasy [or action movie] checklist, which he used to outline pretty much everything from how the characters talked to how they moved. During some of the action sequences I even felt I was watching some sort of Matrix re-make.
The villain was not scary in the least and was more like a brat that wants everything for himself. He was rather comical at times, especially when he is spouting off recycled action movie villain type dialogue. In some of his scenes telling the heroes how he plans to "take over the world" you can practically hear the "fiendish cackle" right on cue.
Then there were the main characters. The supposedly "uber cool" Charlie is nothing but a selfish idiot, for lack of a better word. All his actions are pretty much dictated by his want of having and exciting life and the certainty that his current one is as bad as it can be. He is also the type to blame everything on everyone and I do believe he is only friends with Jack because the latter does pretty much everything Charlie says. Jack is in awe of Charlie and how incredible he is or, as he puts it, how he is "effortlessly cool”. I never even once got a glimpse of this supposedly fabulous personality. In fact, it was Jack that was the saving grace for some time before everything else in the book was so bad not even his sympathetic and likable character could save it.
Read at your own risk but if and only if you like, or don’t mind, one big movie cliché after another. You may even enjoy the action sequence as the seemingly superhuman Charlie and Esme fight it out Matrix style.
A 2 out of 5. Hey, I did LOVE the cover art and that was one cool tattoo!