Hellhole by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson [Book Review]

Aliens Mysteries & Rebellion in New Series

Hellhole is the first book in a trilogy with the same name. It is a story about conflict between the corrupt Constellation lead by the sweet-faced tyrant Diadem Michella Duchenet, its 20 crown jewel worlds, their interstellar trade network that all goes through the capital Sonjeera so they can enrich themselves and the fifty or so oppressed Deep Zone worlds secretly lead by General Tiber Maximilian Adolphus exiled on Hellhole after a failed rebellion.

It is also about the lost alien civilization that was destroyed when Hellhole was hit by an asteroid, centuries ago. Here Brian and Kevin play with ascension which reminds me of the Stargate universe. We barely scratch the surface on that mystery in this book. I enjoyed that part of the story a lot.

The story is told from multiple viewpoints on both sides of the conflict and it worked well for me here since the characters are compelling and the story is tight. I eventually left Kevin J. Anderson’s Seven Sun series because it was not, so I am happy with this.

Most of the action takes place on Hellhole or Sonjeera but we get enough of a sample from other key worlds to tie them in to the story and to build the world.

There is a struggle for rare minerals that are used in building paths that allows ships to travel faster between the stars that reminds me of the current situation where China produces a majority of all the rare earth minerals needed for our mobile technology. That’s why we have so much research into alternative means of building touch screens. But I digress.

There are many characters in the story some with their own sub plots like Vincent and Fernando’s tale of alien discovery and how this affects their friendship. There is also a cute little love story, a not so cute affair of mutual interest and murder and of course the overall animosity between Diadem Duchenet and General Adolphus. I love the general how we survived the first years on Hellhole stories.

The ending is a cliffhanger so be warned that you have to wait until September 2012.

Hellhole is a rebellion space opera with compelling characters, a tight story and a pivotal alien mystery I wholeheartedly recommend.


Title: Hellhole
Series: Hellhole Trilogy book 1
Authors: Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
Genre: Space Opera
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 2011
Order from: Amazon US | UK

Only the most desperate colonists dare to make a new home on Hellhole. Reeling from a recent asteroid impact, tortured with horrific storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and churning volcanic eruptions, the planet is a dumping ground for undesirables, misfits, and charlatans…but also a haven for dreamers and independent pioneers.

Against all odds, an exiled general named Adolphus has turned Hellhole into a place of real opportunity for the desperate colonists who call the planet their home. While the colonists are hard at work developing the planet, General Adolphus secretly builds alliances with the leaders of the other Deep Zone worlds, forming a clandestine coalition against the tyrannical, fossilized government responsible for their exile.

What no one knows is this: the planet Hellhole, though damaged and volatile, hides an amazing secret. Deep beneath its surface lies the remnants of an obliterated alien civilization and the buried memories of its unrecorded past that, when unearthed, could tear the galaxy apart.

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  • Cdrown743

    The book “Hellhole” was an absolute dissapointment. There was no action in the book, only the stupid insignificant little problems between the characters were emphasized. Every chapter of the book builds to an eventual battle between Michella and Adolphus, which by the end of the book never comes to pass. I understand there will be two other books but, the entire plot of the book leads up to that only to be snuffed out by the less than creative ending. Bottom line..the book had so much potential for intrigue, adventure and excitment, but the authors chose to focus the story on the most dull and boring situations. I will not be getting the second or third books because the first was a waste of money and time.

  • Thanks for your comment. I disagree but that is the beauty of taste. Everyone have their own.

  • Pamathomedc

    I enjoyed “Hellhole”, but……what was that brick wall I hit at the end?   I was all ready for something to happen, anything  to happen and the book just stopped.  I was disappointed, but I have to get the next book.  When does it come out?

  • Bob Ireland02

    I just finished reading HELLHOLE and was shocked when I got to the end of the book to find it just stopped when the battle was about to begin. 
    When will the next book on the continuing story come out?

  • Bob Ireland

    I disagree that” Hellhole ” was a waste of money and time. I think the authors, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson exsplored the character of all the  principles,which was necessary to the main plot of the story. However I was dissappointed at the abrupt ending, and hope that the authors don’t take too long to give us the next book with the continuing story. PLEASE make iT soon!!!!

  • Jen Ramb

    I too was shocked at the abrupt ending, but like most others I really want to read the next one.  I like the multiple intertwined story lines, and the build up to the impending battle.

    I suggest waiting until the next book is out before reading this so you’re not disappointed by the abrupt ending.

  • Hellhole Inferno (Hellhole 2) is scheduled for September 2012 on Amazon

  • Drewsifi

    It’s not a matter of taste to describe a book poorly and to miss it’s intended purpose. To say there was “no action” does not make sense if you read the book soberly. They created plenty of imagery, it’s not a movie so the action is up to your own imagination. The “stupid insignificant little problems” were relating this far distant timeline to our own human ideals. With a underlying tone of satire on our own countries and governments, they’ve done quite an excellent job of creating intrigue(that last part being more a statement of taste perhaps.) There is no beauty in your taste if you clearly missed the ideals.. you don’t have to like it, but you’ve misrepresented the novel.
    As far as the creativity of the ending, it’s a hell of a cliff hanger that will either piss you off, or leaving you clawing for more.
    Ove should stick to another genre of reading.

  • drewsifi

    My apologies.. My reply should have been to Cdrown.

  • fred

    I just made it to the suprize ending…. no ending.    I sure wish I would have waited for the series to be completed before starting.    Don’t get the time to read much and here I am enjoying a free afternoon to be greatly disappointed that the story is in such a long lasting cliff-hanger.   So many loose ends left to be tied together.  What a tease.

  • Samuel Nova

    I just finished Hellhole in one day/night and as many was shocked when it stopped. I didn’t know it was a trilogy but I’m not surprised that it is. Too much should/could happen to fit in the book. So I will sit back and wait for the next two books.

  • Theo

    I wish that publishers would place the Glossary at the front of the book where you can find it before you read the book. I never skip to the ending of a book so I never find the glossary and in this case two useless appendixes at the end. The glossary is useless agfter you have read the whole book. I dont mind the sudden ending, it creates a bit of anticipation for the next book.

  • Tim dalton

    I’m disappointed that there wasn’t any mention of the book being part of a series. According to Kevin Andersons wiki page, the third book isnt due till 2015.
    As much as I did enjoy this book, I don’t like having to wait 3 years to finish a series

  • Really disappointed. NO WHERE DOES IT SAY ITS A TRILOGY!!! If i had known this was a trilogy i wouldnt have bought it!!!!!