Posted: June 14, 2014 in Book Reviews


Hellhole by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson

643 pages

This is the first book of the hellhole series. It has what I think is an awesome premise for a story. Exiled military leader makes a discovery that will change human civilization forever. Great premise for any story line. Though not completely original always a good story if told right.

First a brief explanation of the world this book takes place in. The known galaxy is a group of 74 human worlds known as the constellation. This constellation is divided into 2 classifications. The first being the crown jewel worlds. Those closes to the government of the constellation. The others are referred to as the DZ or the deep zone.

The government of the constellation is made up of 184 noble families. At the head of this government is Diadem Michella Duchanet who sits on the Star Throne.

The diadem is a tyrannical leader of the constellation and will stop at nothing to hold onto her power.

Transportation through the galaxy is made possible by a substance called imperion, which creates deep space highways by marking paths through space called stringlines. The Diadem maintains her power by controlling all stringline traffic and routing all commerce through Sonjeera, the capitol world of the known human worlds.

A brief synopsis of the story line. The story starts with the final engagement of a war between General Adolphus and his group of rebels against the constellation. He loses the final battle and finds himself exiled to the world hallholme. A world that has been destroyed by an astroid impact and eliminated all life on the world as we know it.

Hallholme also known as hellhole is a harsh world with few resources where survival is all but impossible. He has somehow managed to survive on this hellish world despite the diadems attempt to exile him, which essentially meant a death sentence. Hallholme has become a dumping ground for the constellations unwanted riff raff and criminals but despite that they have made a home for themselves in this harsh world.

As new comers to hellhole continue to arrive they must work together for survival. One pair of new comers, Vincent and Fernando discover a strange water like substance, however much thicker than water. It has a feel of oil more than water. Fernando finds himself falling into a mysterious lake of this water like substance and becomes a host for an alien presence that soon takes over his mind.

We soon learn from this that in a last-ditch ever to save their species aliens created this “slickwater” as a type of organic storage medium to store all the knowledge, memories and personalities of their species. Fernando has now become Fernando – Zaric and leader of this alien species.

Word of this spread and General Adolphus must take all means necessary to keep the Diadem from discovering the truth as he works to free himself and other deep zone worlds from the constellation and declare independence.

What did I like about this book. I liked the premise of the story over all. It was a quick read and fast paced book with a lot of action in the sense that it left you wanting to know what happened next. However there really is not much more I can say that I liked

Now for the critique.

First off this felt too much like Dune. Many elements with the book seemed to be taken from ideas in the Dune universe. Given that the Brian Herbet and Kevin J Anderson have spent so much time writing dune I guess that is not much of a surprise. The iperion the only substance that will allow you to navigate space in a timely manner and safely, is much like the spice in dune. The galactic government-run my noble families and politics. An outcast that proves to be a threat to the galactic government. The shadow xayans are much like the freemen in Dune and the slickwater like the spice that opens their minds to a world you could never imagine. They have their own settlements and towns as well like the freemen of dune.

Keana the diadems daughter seemed out-of-place and completely unneccessary to the story at all. She comes to dune searching for Cristoph De carre after his family is ruined because of her love affair with his father. She enters the slickwater and becomes a shadow xayan herself. It felt as if she was in the story to give the Diadem a reason to hate and go to war with General Adolphus. However with the set up in the beginning of the book and the stringline network that he set up making him and other deep zone worlds independent from the government of the constellation, she had more than enough reason to go to war with General Adolphus in the first place.

The Aliens in this book served no purpose either. At least that is the way it felt. As I was reading I thought that they were an important part of the story but by the end I was wondering why they were even there. Again the Diadem had plenty of reason to go to war with General Adolphus and they in effect played no role that I can see in this story of any importance.

The general was exiled, worked to establish independence and rid himself and the rest of the deep zone worlds from dependence on the corrupt government of the Constellation. His act of setting up his own independence was more than enough of a threat to the Constellation government that you could take the Diadems daughter and the aliens out of this book all together and It would have actually made it a better story because it would not of had so many unneccessary elements that while interesting and fun to read about, did not seem to me at least to serve any purpose to the overall story.

I am hoping that in later volumes that these critiques are addressed and they somehow become important to the plot of this trilogy which I am planning to read through just because I cannot stand to let a story go unfinished.

Sadly this will not get a good rating. Given these critiques I give his book a 3/10 book worms

Don’t forget to check out gospel view

  1. […] been a while since I read and reviewed the first book in this seriesĀ Hellhole. As I recall I did not give this first book a very good rating. Perhaps that is why it has taken me […]

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