Follow TV Tropes


Literature / The Boy with the Chainsaw Heart

Go To

Mark Knight wakes in the afterlife to discover that he's been drafted into Hell's army, forced to fight against the hordes of murderous angels attacking from the North. He finds himself to be both the pilot and the fuel of a demonic war machine known as Lynx, a living demon woman with the ability to mutate into a weaponized battle suit that reflects the unique destructive force of a man's soul.

While piloting Lynx, Mark adapts quickly to his new life as a soldier and learns that his abilities far surpass those of a normal human recruit. His fighting skills are so great that it could even be a turning point in this war that has not progressed in over five thousand years. But Mark has no interest in winning the war for the kingdom of Hell. All he wants is to see his wife, Amy, once again. As a Christian woman who died tragically in her youth, Mark is positive that she went to Heaven after her death. And if he can fight his way past the angels to reach Heaven's Gate, Mark believes he'll be able to rescue Amy from a life of servitude and find a place they can live together for the rest of their post-human lives.


The Boy With The Chainsaw Heart is a Bizarro Fiction story by Carlton Mellick III.

This novel contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Angelic Abomination: The angels are massive mechanical creatures bristling with wings and armaments.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Used to give Mark a Hope Spot before brutally snatching it away again. He tells Amy he'll only agree to start a family if she leaves the burgeoning Christian uprising, and she agrees (if only because she won't be able to fight while pregnant anyway). Literally the next moment, she gets shot and dies.
  • Chainsaw Good: With Mark as her pilot, one of Lynx's arms becomes a chainsaw. They use it to great advantage against the angels.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Mark wins a number of fights he rightly shouldn't have been able to by ignoring Hell's rigid combat doctrines and using ideas like diversions and feigned retreats against the angels.
  • Advertisement:
  • Continuity Nod: Lynx mentions succubi as another example of demons who have been biologically altered for a particular purpose.
  • Darker and Edgier: To the previous novel set in the same world. Not only is the subject matter considerably grimmer, but it turns out that Lici told Jonathan a somewhat sanitised version of what happens to human souls in the afterlife. She admitted to the slavery; she forgot to mention the possibility of being used for fuel.
  • Downer Ending: Well, did you expect a war story set in Hell to have a happy one? Mark finds Amy, but she's too brainwashed to even recognise him, and Lynx tricks him into killing her. Both he and Lynx are crazed with the angel-drug, which Mark previously noted as a worse fate than being enslaved but at least getting to be aware of it. All the other human characters are dead, and this might actually be for the best. If you care about the cause of Hell - and Mark did care, just a little - then the fact that the demons seem poised to take their capital city back might be some slight comfort, but that's pretty much it.
  • Driven to Suicide: No longer wanting to live in a world without his wife, Mark shot himself in the head.
  • The Fundamentalist: Amy is an unusually positive example. She loves being a Christian, and she loves other people, so she tries to convince them to become Christians because she's sure they'll love it too. She's also very laid-back and open-minded, dismissing things like laws against homosexuality by claiming that the Old Testament said all sorts of crazy things that modern people shouldn't worry about. She gets increasingly like a more typical example of the trope as the government's anti-religious policies drives her into the company of more intolerant and bigoted Christians.
  • General Failure: Takka makes the absolute worst decision at every turn and cares only about her own glory, not about what will win the fight. Until Lynx and Mark give themselves a Klingon Promotion...
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Lynx and Takka are sisters. They do not get along.
  • Glory Seeker: Lynx and Takka both. Since they've been transformed into living weapons and can never be "normal" demons again, glory on the battlefield is pretty much all they have to live for.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: Heaven keeps its human population on a drug that makes them blissfully certain that the angels are holy and infallible.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Mark used to be a Christian, but became a stubborn atheist after the senseless death of his wife. He was recruited into Hell's army upon death specificially because of his burning hatred of God.
  • Hopeless War: The war has gone on for thousands of years, and Hell is losing badly, with Heaven now controlling half its past territory. No one sees any hope of that changing, either - just being able to hold the angels at bay is considered a best-case scenario.
  • Humongous Mecha: Lynx and the other demons like her effectively function as this after bonding with a human. Mark even refers to her as a "bio mech" at one point.
  • Lady of War: The Red Death, most feared of Heaven's soldiers. Otherwise known as Amy Knight.
  • The Legions of Hell: The protagonist is drafted into Hell's army in their war against Heaven.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Mark notes that he can actually somewhat sympathise with the demons, who are after all fighting to reclaim their home from a ruthless invading army, and who at least have the decency to not expect their slaves to think they're beautiful and righteous.
  • Lightning Bruiser: With Mark piloting her, Lynx can move like a flash and tear through just about anything with her claws, and that's without using the chainsaw.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Red Death's favourite attack.
  • Mirroring Factions: In the afterlife, both Heaven and Hell use human souls as fuel for the war effort.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Several demons have more than the regular number of arms. Lynx has four - two end in Femme Fatalons, one in a chainsaw, and one in a laser cannon.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Mark finds the atheist women he tries to date after his wife's death to be as self-righteous and intolerant as the Christians he can no longer stand. note 
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: A Knight is powered by gradually consuming the soul of its pilot.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Steve lets his sons play with real (albeit unloaded) guns, laughing off Mark's protests. This leads to Amy's death - turns out, Steve accidentally left a bullet in, and one of the boys shoots Amy by accident.
  • Stealth Sequel: It takes place in the same universe as I Knocked Up Satan's Daughter, though since it has a completely different tone and does not share any characters this was not mentioned in its marketing.
  • Strawman Political: Of both flavours. America is run by religion-hating hipster liberals who force anyone who wants to go to church to submit to an hour of therapy every week so as to ensure that they don't enjoy it too much. This backfires badly, as it causes people who just wanted to worship in peace to become increasingly angry, militant and more like stereotypical gun-toting fundamentalists.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: One of Amy's favourite things. Mark never bought her candy for Valentine's Day, knowing that what she really wanted was a whole bunch of fireworks. Takes a dark turn when her militia friends get her to try out a grenade launcher. Takes a much darker turn when she becomes the Red Death and fights by firing missiles left and right.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: In contrast to his deadly precision in melee, Mark has horrible aim with the laser cannon he uses for ranged attacks, and it drains a horrible amount of energy besides. On the other hand, it's so powerful that when he does hit something, it more or less gets vaporised, along with anything that was behind it, and anything that was behind that.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: