General Adolphus knows the Monarchy crackdown is coming. Now he needs to pull together all the resources of the Hellhole colony, the ever-expanding shadow-Xayan settlement, and his connections with the other Deep Zone worlds. On Sonjeera, Diadem Michella Duchenet has collected a huge fleet, led by firebrand Commissar Escobar Hallholme, son of the man who originally defeated Adolphus.
Uniting themselves and pooling their minds, the shadow-Xayans send a power surge along the original stringline path that links Hellhole with the Monarchy’s hub on Sonjeera. All of the Diadem’s battleships are currently approaching on that route, and when the mental blast wipes out all the substations, the battleships are effectively stranded.
But now a bigger threat appears. Three large asteroids come in from the outer reaches of the Candela system. On Hellhole, the awakened Xayans finally reveal information that has been hidden even from their own followers. A large group of powerful, rogue telemancers split away from the main race-fanatics, violent, and ruthless. And now that the Xayan civilization is reawakening, the rogues have come back to destroy them once and for all. They are coming for Hellhole, and this time they will completely destroy it.
Hellhole Awakening follows on from the amazing Hellhole, and the series continues to intrigue me. There is so much good stuff in this book that I want to shout so loudly about, that only the threat of spoilers keeps your ears safe!
The pace was brilliant, and ensured my eyes were glued to the words and I didn’t want to put it down. It’s not a short book however, so I did, very reluctantly, have to put it down to go to bed. I’m getting a bit too old now for through the night reads. All that did was build the suspense even further, and as soon as I was awake and had a free moment, I felt compelled to pick the story up where I’d left off.
The plot continues to be as intricate as the first book – the interplay between the Diadem, the constellation and the deep zone worlds. Revelations about the Xayan and then Shadow Xayan were a bit of a jaw dropper and there is so much joy and heartache tied in with them.
There is a genius plot element based around three stringlines, the DZ link, the old Buktu link and the constellation link. It was both dizzying and amazing. It added another whole dimension to the character driven story.
Michella has to be stopped, surely someone somewhere can! I have no words to describe the atrocities carried out on her orders, and I’ll be honest, I cried. The writing is so clean and crisp, and everything so well imagined that it felt like you were there and it was all so emotional.
Adolphus – seriously, when is he going to get a break? He and the DZ people seem to be the only people with any humanity left and even he nearly loses it. Sophie is his rock and my heart broke for her.
Candela and the Xayan secrets – heart-rending on so many levels. Why couldn’t they have confessed before? Why?
All of those characters and events push the story inexorably toward the ending; and what an ending! Wow. If I didn’t have the next book to hand, I think I might have self combusted. I feel as if I should make a wall to commemorate the fallen.
Hellhole Awaking is just utterly amazing; if you like your science fiction with great plot-lines, characters that are so well imagined they seem real and triumph and tragedy on an epic scale then this series is for you. Seriously!