Hell Divers (Hell Divers 1) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Stars: 2.5 out of 5

If you like fast-paced military scifi, then this book is right up  your alley. The action is non-stop and the stakes are high. Don’t get attached to characters, because not many will survive this literal hellscape. If the action is enough to entertain you, and you are willing to overlook some glaring plot issues, then you will love this book. And again, if you are here for the action, and don’t particularly care about good characterization, this is definitely your book.

Unfortunately, there are limits as to how much I am willing to suspend my disbelief. And the glaring plotholes in this book are bigger than the craters in Hades, sorry, Chicago. The war was 200 years ago. Since then Earth has been a radioactive husk blasted by giant electric storms. Are you telling me that any machinery or supplies survived that long in such a hostile environment and are still usable? They would be corroded beyond repair. At one point, the hell divers come across an electric lock panel… that still has juice… after spending two hundred years in a nuclear wasteland swiped by electric storms.

The whole societal structure inside the ship makes no sense either. You are telling me that the entire population of the Hive is 560-some people. You should have all hands on deck, working around the clock to keep the derelict ship functioning. You should have excellent education for everyone and cross-training, so that each person can perform several different functions inside the ship as needed. What do we have instead? A stratified society where the upper decks get all the perks, education, food, etc. and the lower decks are basically uneducated cattle. In what apocalyptic world does that make sense? Especially since it’s pointed out several times that the Hive and Ares are the last two ships afloat. Meaning, that’s it for humanity on Earth.

This brings me to the second complaint I have – the unnecessary plotlines. That whole insurrection storyline served absolutely no purpose. It accomplished nothing but take page time from other storylines. It also makes no sense. As I mentioned, there are only 560 people on board this ship. All of them should be needed to keep this thing afloat. So it is essential that everyone knows what’s going on so that problems can be addressed and troubleshooted. Instead, the captain and the upper decks upper class choose not to tell anyone that their ship is basically sinking and they might have days left to live unless hell divers pull out a miracle. This societal structure crumbles into dust with the barest amount of scrutiny. This ship wouldn’t have survived a year after the catastrophe, yet alone 200.

Finally, don’t get into this book if you are looking for believable characters, or even characters with more depth than skin surface. There aren’t any. Again, this is about on part for the military scifi genre, where most of the characters are just names on a page and inevitable cannon fodder.  This is also why I don’t usually read that genre. I like my protagonists with slightly more substance than a carboard cutout. But this is partly my fault. I misread the genre when I picked up this book. I thought it was a post-apocalyptical story, not a military scifi.

I will still probably check out the second book in the series, just because I already own it, but I doubt I will go past that.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.