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Hellhole: Awakening (The Hellhole Trilogy) Hardcover – March 26, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Hellhole Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The space opera that is the Hellhole series continues with the struggles of General Adolphus to have the Deep Zone worlds secede from the Monarchy. The Diadem, head of the Monarchy, has sent a massive fleet to put down the rebellion. Meanwhile, the awakened Xayans, aliens found on the planet Hellhole, have revealed themselves to have unsuspected powers that can protect and aid the rebellion, but there is a secret they are unwilling to share with the humans. The Xayans know there is another, greater threat to Hellhole and the Deep Zone worlds—their own fanatics. This book is aimed squarely at those who have read the first in the series, as there is barely any review of what occurred in the previous book. This time, the focus is on the players in the Monarchy and the Xayans. More fighting and treachery ensue, with the outcome up for grabs. Can the Deep Zone survive while caught between the Monarchy and the Xayan fanatics? Will the Monarchy finally collapse under its own decay? Only the next book will tell. --Rebecca Gerber

Review

Hellhole is a militaristic SF story of galactic proportions… Brilliant strategist, lover of Old Earth history, and cast-off of a now-defunct noble line, Adolphus is a Robin Hood for the galaxy to unite behind. The characters are easy for the reader to believe in, brought to life through not only their own emotions but also the responses and thoughts of the individuals around them.” ―Booklist, starred review

“Combines the best of space opera with galactic intrigue and a cast of memorable characters. Fans of David Weber's Honor Harrington series and the Star Wars® novels should enjoy a new entry into this popular category.” ―Library Journal on Hellhole

“Unquestionably, Herbert & Anderson can spin a great yarn while producing a vivid, mystifying universe, filled with characters that are both endearing, and loathsome.” ―BookSpotCentral on The Winds of Dune

“Herbert and Anderson create vivid characters--both human and machine--with passionate goals.” ―RT Bookreviews on Dune: The Battle of Corin

“Exploring the universe created by the late Frank Herbert in his eco-classic Dune, the authors delve into the childhood of the boy who would become Paul Muad'Dib and lead a desert planet in a war that unseats a corrupt emperor. Introducing the world of Dune to a new generation of readers, this novel maintains a high standard of storytelling and world building.” ―Library Journal on Paul of Dune

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Product Details

  • Series: The Hellhole Trilogy (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (March 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765322706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765322708
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #802,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a poor attempt to write in the combined style of Frank Herbert and David Weber. the authors jump quickly from character to character without segue and without developing the line of the character being left in the situation enough for the reader to gain a solid foothold concerning the character's development. The niche filled by the character in the world/plot scheme, or even a clue concerning who the main protagonists might actually be. The putative main characters of the general and the empress are at best just paper cut-outs because of the disjointed, incomplete character development. This is a far cry from "Dune" and certainly not worthy of a place anywhere near the "Honorverse".
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Format: Hardcover
This novel is reasonable well written, but there is simply too much repetition. I can understand some repetition at the beginning of a sequel, but this novel tends to regurgitate nearly every time the storyline changes. I suspect the author is using a lot of boilerplate. This novel also suffers from the current trend of ending a book with many unfinished storylines.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The positive first: the varied viewpoint characters do a great job of building the setting and handling tone, and a lot are quite enjoyable to read. Be it the sympathetic everyman exiled for stealing from his boss to save his father, the spoiled and naive princess coming to grips with her powerlessness as the court politics destroy her love affair, to the massively monstrous bad guys with their confident, "necessary" cruelty. The setting itself is interesting, lots of twists and turns in this neofeudal space monarchy with rebellions and aliens in the mix.

The negative: for all their appeal, the characters at times aren't allowed to act naturally in favor of more simplistic reactions that further the plot. This is compounded when the heroes get victories handed to them all too easily. This is more evident in the second book as the aliens' telekinesis starts to become powerful enough to attack targets in orbit or lightyears away. Ironically, that tendency for easy victories is also used against the heroes when it's necessary to create a dramatic death or two.

I'll still read the third book, but I'll buy it from a local used book store.
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Format: Hardcover
Two stars is generous and is on a logarithmic scale, so it's a lot worse than 5 stars.

The characters are fundamentally indistinguishable except for their overt affiliations. There is no real sense they are individuals with unique personalities -- they are just agents to advance the plot. Which brings us to ...

The authors are unable or unwilling to interestingly plot the arc of the story. There are broad hints in the dialogue that tip the later developments, but the characters in the novel remain oblivious to all this. The supposedly brilliant and charismatic General Adolphus seems particularly dim. The BIG REVEAL at the end is evident long before the last few pages and thus wildly anti-climatic when it finally is unveiled.

The recent death of Iain M. Banks reminds us of how vast a gap exist between top level writers and journeymen like these guys. Read any of Banks' novels ("Player of Games" is highly recommended) and compare the depth of characterization (whether of people or "minds") and the thorough plotting to "Hellhole: Awakening."

I doubt I will read the next in this series.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The second in a Trilogy, and I am much dumber than when I started. I had read the first book then bought this much later, forgetting how dumb it makes me feel. Now, with an IQ dpiping into hazardous territory, I am just kicking myself for having picked up the first book in the first place.

Poor character development is an understatement. Plot is lame, descriptions are virtually non-existent, you never really get a feel for the people as you realize they aren't people: they are (poor) figment of someone's imagination (well, I guess 2 people. Or 2 2nd graders?)

At this point I'm going to finish this (or die trying) just so I can defend my opinion against anybody else dumb enough to have paid money for this series. And I feel like things were going along in a normally poorly written, lame way, then the authors decide to make up some more things out of nowhere to... drive me deeper down the rabbit hole.
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Format: Hardcover
I should've known to not buy this with Anderson's name on the cover. The concept is great but the execution is sorrowful. You can tell what Anderson's contribution is: the Diadem's side. Herbert obviously wrote the General's side but it really isn't much better. I'm a hundred pages in Awakening and I'm forcing myself to continue reading. Anderson's "see dick play" and " watch jane fall" style are brutal to read. I tried to read Anderson's Superman and it was the same way. Never did finish it either. I don't think I'll be able to finish Awakening or waste money on V3.
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Format: Hardcover
I really don't understand why this book has so many reviews with words like 'great' and 'awesome' and such. I think the publisher or authors must be seeding the reviews.

I read the first one because I liked the Dune books by these two, but I was very disappointed by Hellhole and Hellhole: Awakening.The characters are one dimensional, with cheesy dialogue and no real sense to their actions. The authors tell us what everyone is thinking (over and over and over again) so there are not many surprises in the book. All the characters seem really stupid at times, and their reactions to events are only to forward the plot, even at the expense of previous (meager) character development.

I was also annoyed throughout the first half of the book by the constant repetition, driving home stuff that was in the first book, in case I hadn't read it. (Ishop's need to redeem his noble name, the Xayan's wish to have more slickwater converts, the Diadem is a ruthless old ruler, yeah, we get it). That kind of stuff is boring.

The science doesn't really make much sense. I mean, the book states that you can 'detach' from a stringline anywhere along the line, as Walfor did coming into the Candela system when he found the doomsday asteroids, but the fleet destroys the endpoint terminus ring in a system in order to keep the rebels from entering that system. Wouldn't the rebels just hop off early to get in to that system? And ships on the stringline run off the end where the line was breeched by the rebels and get horribly lost in space, but they are able to send a probe out on the stringline which returns quickly and lets them know the line is broken? The stringline technology seems to work only as plot necessities dictate, with no consistency to speak of.
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