Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Review: 'Hell on Earth' by Ally Blue


One’s man hell can be another man’s paradise. Sandman is eager to leave Hell’s End behind for a new start on Mars. Except before his new life can begin, he becomes embroiled in a political tug-of-war and ends up crash-landed on Earth. The only other survivor is Vijay, a man who’s presence in the same craft is kind of Sandman’s fault. However, they both have to put aside their feelings of mistrust to navigate a new and scary world on Earth. With no one to trust and rely on besides each other, Sandman and Vijay must learn to survive and maybe even thrive in the new and hellish world.
Hell on Earth is book two in the Hellscape series by Ally Blue, however, newcomers to the series do not need to read the first book to understand this one. The first book in the series introduces the main character Sandman but focuses more on other characters and the political climate of Hell’s End. In this book the same world building applies but it’s used in much more general ways. It’s still a dystopian/futuristic world where politics are too confusing to follow, though the general vices of greed, cruelty, and heinous acts to the poor still apply. The focus on this second book is the relationship between Vijay and Sandman as they navigate through unfamiliar lands and people. The plot keeps the tension high and action nearly constant to help cover some of the holes in the world building.
If the world building isn’t as strong as it was in the first book, the characterization is better this round. Both Sandman and Vijay leap off the page with their complexity and hot passion. There are a couple of scenes that threw me, mostly because I am not a fan of rimming and I couldn’t stop thinking about how hygiene in a post-apocalyptic world is simply non-existent so… we’ll just say that didn’t work for me. Other than that I really quite enjoyed the couple together and was quickly invested in their outcome as individuals and a couple. They are very nuanced characters with a lot of depth. Thankfully the same can be said of the supporting cast. Although quite large, I identified most of the secondary characters and could remember them as well.
I actually liked the second book in the series more than first because I connected with the protagonists as a couple much more. Plus the non-stop action really kept the pages turning and my attention nearly glued to the story. I would sit to read for 10 minutes and not look up for an hour or more, unaware of the time flying by. To me, that’s a great story. I always look for those stories that I can engage and immerse myself in the created world. I personally love post-apoc fiction so keep that in mind but science fiction fans would probably really enjoy this offering. You don’t need to have read the previous book to catch up and follow along on this one and arguably; this is actually a better book to start. At least in my opinion.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.