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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Saving Hell is quite the supernatural comedy by Maria Sjöstrand. At 93 years of age, Grace O'Neill is told she has just one month to live. As expected, the diagnosis leaves her loved ones distraught. Grace throws a goodbye party, invites everyone she loves... and dies. As an atheist, Grace is not permitted into Heaven but quickly makes some dear friends in Hell - a place that holds no similarity whatsoever to how Christianity depicts it to be. On meeting Lucifer, Grace tells him that he looks tired, much to Lucifer's chagrin. After Grace is taken to Lucifer's wife's bedside and is instructed to heal Lilith from the Curse of God, the walls of Hell begin to crumble, leaving some unlikely friends to do all they can to retrieve the only tool that can repair the damage - the Voice of God - since God refuses to get involved. On Grace's return, Hell has had quite the facelift, and she ends up utilizing every ounce of faith in herself and her friends to restore order amongst the chaos, before giving Lucifer and God quite a talking-to, making them both see the error of their ways.
I am still laughing as I type this. Maria Sjöstrand's surprisingly witty tale, Saving Hell, is just brilliant. There is no other way to describe it. Generally, when I see a tale of religion in any form, I run for the hills as it tends to start preaching. I can guarantee nobody will feel preached to after this incredible literary journey of life, death, Heaven, Hell, and a world in-between full of those souls that have been deemed unfit for either and thrown into a divine garbage can... and forgotten about. While I did shed many tears while reading Saving Hell, I found myself unable to stop reading as the enjoyment factor was off the scales. Saving Hell deals with both good and bad, and sheds light on many issues that people just don't stop to think about. Sometimes negotiations are the only way to improve things. I believe that Saving Hell is best suited to adult readers who love a good comedy while contemplating the journey of death and beyond. And yes... I am still laughing. I look forward to what comes next from Maria Sjöstrand's incredible mind.