Review: Ante’s Inferno, by Griselda Heppel

Today’s review is of Ante’s Inferno by Griselda Heppel

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What it’s about: Life for 12-year-old Ante (Antonia) Alganesh isn’t great. She’s become the target for a group of bullies at school, headed by the fearsome Florence, who seems to think that Ante has done her a great injustice at a previous school and is determined to make her pay. After an incident in the school dining hall, Ante runs to hide in the old organ loft and thinks she is safe until she hears Florence coming up behind her. However, the handrail is too rickety and before Ante can warn Florence, her arch-enemy tumbles to the floor just as a mysterious boy suddenly appears out of nowhere, alongside a wall that opens into the wall behind them. Florence and Ante follow Gil – a boy who fell to his death from the organ loft 100 years ago – on a terrifying adventure through the Underworld to try to return to the present, their journey hindered by mythical demons and monsters including Cerberus, the Harpies, Furies and the Minotaur. Will they ever get back safely or will they be stuck in hell forever? 

Holly’s review: I like this book because I’ve never read anything like it before and it really steps over the line. I found it exciting, treacherous and scary because I never knew what was going to happen. At one point I even thought that Ante was dead. Sometimes I found this  book a little bit confusing – just at one point – but maybe it was supposed to be like that. But anyway I soon understood what it meant.

When I was reading this book I was picturing everything very vividly in my head but I found that was a good thing because it made me enjoy the book even more. Reading this book, I felt like I was travelling and exploring Hades like I was on the journey. I even felt the terror in them rising up in me too. It was like I was in the dense darkness and in the horrible place of Hades. The words were so vivid that they felt real. I was living the words and pages, ready to explore another bit of Hades.

I finished this book at night when I wasn’t supposed to  be reading but I couldn’t stand the suspense – I had to read it! So read this book, explore the words I explored, finger and touch the pages that I did and enroll yourself into this living story of a book. Wait for all the unexpected things to happen and, most of all, enjoy it!

Sam’s review: Holly certainly did enjoy this book and I think her review reflects this! She often would beg for more when it was time for lights-out and we frequently discovered that she had progressed rather rapidly from where we had last read with her, so I am sure she was doing some ‘reading by torchlight’. This unfortunately meant that I didn’t get all of the story because she would leap ahead several chapters by the time I then sat down with her to continue. However, from what I did read (and I plan to catch up with the missing chapters!) I thoroughly enjoyed. The story was lively and fast-paced, which will appeal to young readers (the publishers suggest a reading age of 9-14 years) and cleverly takes them on a whistle-stop tour of Classical Mythology. So they learn without even realizing it, which is an added bonus! I also enjoyed revisiting classic tales given a new and exciting twist.

Ante is also a well drawn and complex character. She has both her good and her bad points and as a reader, while you do root for her, you also become frustrated with her at times. I like this in a character because it helps them seem more believable and well rounded. By the end of the book I felt that not only had Florence (the ‘baddie’) undergone a transformation but Ante had too – or at least her beliefs and behaviours had been suitable challenged by her quest. The inclusion of Gil in the text helps bring about this change as he mediates between the two female protagonists.

Ante’s Inferno has already earned good reviews and I hope it continues to attract positive interest as it really is a fascinating and exciting story.


Please note that while we received a review copy of this book, we were under no obligation to review it and all opinions expressed are entirely our own. 


  1. What a SUPER review! Holly, I’m thrilled you enjoyed Ante’s Inferno, and thank you very much for taking the time to describe so well how it made you feel. The fact that you found it so exciting you had to keep reading after lights-out Iis the best compliment a writer could wish for (though I expect your mother might have had something to say about that, especially if it was a school night!).

    Sam, I’m delighted you enjoyed it too (I love the idea of all these missing chapters you have to make up later because Holly is whizzing through it so fast!). Many thanks indeed for this lovely, perceptive analysis of the characters and story.


  2. Hi Griselda
    We are really happy that you enjoyed our review. Holly was itching to write it and took a lot of care over it, which shows how much the book meant to her. And while officially I of course tut tut at reading after lights out, unofficially I am pleased that Holly is still so thrilled by books that she breaks the house law! 🙂


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