Friday, January 2, 2015

Hellhole Inferno

Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Tor, 2014 (my paperback ARC copy was gracefully provided by Tor for review)
Size: Average (my paperback ARC copy has 446 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

The story picks up right after the events of Hellhole Awakening, the previous novel of this series. Thus, this really works as a continuation of the ongoing story rather than as a single novel by itself. And, as one could expect, the writing style, the plot flow, and the pace of the story continue in line with the earlier books. That being said, I should remark that Herbert and Anderson maintain their usual option of multiple plotlines developing simultaneously and the story switching between locations/characters to follow where events are unfolding.

The main plot is now around a renewed attack by Commodore Percival on the DZ planets, by order of the new Diadem, the continued attempts of the Xayan alien species to reach their Ala’ru, and the asteroids which are en route to Hellhole. With the previous army of the Constellation under guard at Hellhole, the power balance has shifted, and the confrontation between the Commodore and the General will change significantly. Also, the book reveals exactly what Alu’ru is and why it has caused rupture among the alien race.

I enjoyed the book and felt it concluded the series very successfully. The events are not blown out of proportion nor are there out-of-character actions (which I’ve seen a lot when trying to end a novel). Although some might say the series is shallow, for me this was light and entertaining reading and, when taken that way, I’d say the books are definitely worth the time.

Related work:
Hellhole Inferno concludes the Hellhole trilogy, after Hellhole and Hellhole Awakening.

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

Towards the end of the book, we find that the rogue Xayans split because Ala’ru is expected to end the universe as we know it. They are coming inside the asteroids, where they have been living, but they are convinced by the combined effort of humans (mostly Keana) and original Xayans to spare the planet and find another way. Commodore Percival ends up turning his back on the Diadem’s cruel and abusive reign, and teams up with the General in the attempt to save the population of Hellhole, and they end up deposing the Diadem and establishing a new peaceful era in the Constellation.

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