Friday, April 4, 2014

Hellhole: Awakening Review

This week I decided to review Hellhole: Awakening by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. It is the second book in a trilogy, and opens shortly after General Adolphus, who was exiled to the appropriately named colony world of Hellhole after leading a failed rebellion, has launched a second rebellion against the corrupt Constellation government which rules human space. He counters this by using a secret source of iperion, an incredibly rare resource to establish a Deep Zone controlled Stringline network which bypasses the hub where all Constellation Stringlines converge. Stringline travel is vastly faster than any other known Faster Than Light drive and will be key to both sides' war efforts. Adolphus also sabotages the Constellation Stringline leading to Hellhole in order to trap a fleet  led by Escobar Hallholme, son of the officer who he surrendered to at the end of his first rebellion. While Escobar struggles to save both his fleet and his mission a second Constellation fleet devastates the rebel world of Theser. This leads to the Xayan, an alien race native to Hellhole and allied with the rebellion who are preparing to reach the next stage of their evolution, to launch an assault on the Constellation Stringline network. But this leads to ancient enemies of the Xayan launching an attack on the Deep Zone’s only source of iperion. Meanwhile, a Constellation assassin attempts to complete his revenge on the families who disgraced his ancestors before the time comes when he can reclaim the noble title stripped from his family centuries ago,
I give this book a 7 out of 10. I was pleasantly surprised by it as I’ve hated all of the previous books I’ve read by this pair of authors. In fact the only reason I bought this book was that I read the back cover in a bookstore and it sounded interesting enough that I purchased it before I realized who wrote it. The various plots blend together well and the book does a good job of helping the reader understand what has led to this point while leaving enough mystery to keep things interesting. However the space battles feel rushed and are lacking in detail, and there are some points where obvious solutions to coming problems or disasters are never mentioned. Despite these flaws I still look forward to the third book in the trilogy, though I hope the problems are fixed in the next book.

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