I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
Series: Hell Divers Trilogy #1
on July 19, 2016
Genres: Adult, Post Apocalyptic, Science Fiction
Buy on Amazon
More than two centuries after World War III poisoned the planet, the final bastion of humanity lives on massive airships circling the globe in search of a habitable area to call home. Aging and outdated, most of the ships plummeted back to earth long ago. The only thing keeping the two surviving lifeboats in the sky are Hell Divers—men and women who risk their lives by skydiving to the surface to scavenge for parts the ships desperately need.
When one of the remaining airships is damaged in an electrical storm, a Hell Diver team is deployed to a hostile zone called Hades. But there’s something down there far worse than the mutated creatures discovered on dives in the past—something that threatens the fragile future of humanity.
I keep sitting down to write this review, and I keep stepping back, unsure of what words could possibly describe this book. I hope you can bear with me, and if my words aren’t enough, just buy the book and read it for yourself. Then we can talk about it. 😉
So, it turns out that Sansbury Smith isn’t a newbie author. He’s actually got a huge arsenal of books under his belt. I got really excited after finishing Hell Divers to read something else by him, and I certainly have a lot to choose from. But… I can also see why I may have overlooked his books in the past. They all look very… military? I’ve never really been interested in reading books that involve a heavy military plot, but if they’re anything like Hell Divers, then you bet your knickers that I’ll be reading them! His Extinction Cycle series comes highly recommended, so I think that sounds like a good place to start.
The intensity level of this book is off the charts! There is literally danger at every turn, and you know that not every character is going to make it out alive, because that would be too unbelievable, and quite honestly, this just isn’t one of those books. There won’t be any rainbows or fluffy kittens, and I actually prepared myself for a devastating ending. Because seriously. This book delves into the dark. It’s violent and bloody, and definitely for a mature audience. Even saying that, I never felt like it crossed that line into the gratuitous. The story called for gore, plain and simple.
There are multiple POVs told in the third person, but essentially, the main character is X. He’s brooding and mysterious, recovering from his own emotional baggage. He has suffered loss, just like every other remaining member of the human race. Radiation poisoning and cancer, malnutrition and poverty. Everyday life aboard the Hive is rough.The Hive is described as a giant airship, though my imagination seems lacking when it comes to drawing the mental picture for it. Is it a blimp? It’s held aloft with helium and propellers, that’s all we need to know. Even after reading the book, I’m not sure if X is talented or just lucky. Either way, he has stayed alive longer than he should have. He is a Hell Diver, whose job is to skydive out of the Hive to retrieve resources from the ravaged surface. Part of me really wants to tell you what’s going on down on the surface, every spine-tingling detail. But then there is part of me that knows spoilers are wrong. *sigh* I hope you appreciate the effort I’m putting in here.
Our other main characters include the captain of the ship, Ash, and Tin, the son of a fallen comrade. These character choices allow a huge variety of perspective throughout the story. We can see the political choices being made, but also get the simple and honest opinion of a child. The POV changes also allow the elimination of any potential boring filler scenes. Seriously, that pace, dude.
The world was so solid, I swear I could see it when I closed my eyes at night. Though the world building was never obvious, it was always just… there. In the way the air smelled, in the texture of the Sirens’ skin. It was very three dimensional. Together with the characters and the plot, Sansbury Smith has created a full-bodied sci-fi novel, and by far, one of the most entertaining reads of the year for me. Annnnnd the ending? I am so not having any of it. How long until the sequel? A YEAR?! No. Just… no.
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