Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hellhole Awakening

Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Tor, 2013 (my hardcover copy is a first edition, gracefully provided by Tor for review)
Size: Long (my hardcover copy has 527 pages)
Theme: Space Opera
Narrative: third-person
Main character: General Tiber Adolphus
Recommended minimum age: Teenager
Would purchase as a gift to any sci-fi reader: YES

A worthy sequel to Hellhole, the story picks up right where the earlier book had left us. It actually felt more like a space opera than the previous book, and a considerable part of it occurs in space. The plot will involve several twist and turns, quite well put together, and finally feature some space warfare.

As a powerful Constellation fleet travels towards Hellholm to fight and capture the rebels, General Adolphus has plans for a trap that might render them helpless. Will he be able to flip the tables on the corrupt Constellation government and take command of their fleet instead? Diadem Michella’s extreme fear of the aliens and rage against Adolphus continues to prompt strong and violent reaction from the Constellation on several fronts, which will eventually backfire as the rebels and aliens are forced to take desperate measured to ensure their safety. The human-alien hybrids continue to build up their colony and will play a major role in the main storyline. Yet, it appears the Constellation is not the only enemy to account for, and the novel will unravel much more about the history of Hellhole and its inhabitants.

The multi-line plot and the fast pace are similar to Hellhole, as is the depth of characters and the scope of the saga. I quite enjoyed reading it, but there was one annoying aspect: as the story shifts focus to a different plot line, the authors repeatedly remind us of the character’s motivations and current status, like a nagging banner that you have seen too often.  Nevertheless, if you like military space operas, you should find yourself immersed in the complex universe of Hellhole.

Related work:

Hellhole Awakening is the second novel in a trilogy; the story started in Hellhole and will draw to a conclusion in Hellhole Inferno.

*** Spoiler Alert ***
(Warning: the following text contains information that may hamper/ruin how much you enjoy the book):

Adolphus cuts the link to the Jewel worlds leaving the army of the Constellation stranded in space, and though they manage to put together a new stringline to Hellhole, this will cost them dearly and as they reach the planet, their forces are essentially decimated. The destruction of Hellhole centuries ago is finally revealed to have been an intentional act by an opposing faction and they now enact the same measures against another of the deep zone planets. Commodore Percival is sent by the Diadem to attempt to attack Hellhole through a blindside of the stringline network, but their efforts are thwarted by the aliens’ telekinetic powers, and they have to retreat back to the Crown Jewels.

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