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Hellhole (Hellhole Trilogy #1)

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,310 ratings  ·  203 reviews
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 n
Paperback, 688 pages
Published November 29th 2011 by Tor Science Fiction (first published January 1st 2011)
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I once saw Darth Vader standing next to this author. Darth (if I may call him that) was holding a sign that begged, “Please don't send me to Hellhole." Well, don't send me either.

I don’t give one-star ratings lightly. I like to believe that every book has at least one redeeming quality. Yeah, Hellhole doesn't. And I was caught off guard by this. I read Dune and the sequel, Dune Messiah a couple years ago, and I remember being impressed. I expected anybody allowed to follow Frank Herbert would be
This is an audacious and arrogant attempt to write


To do this the authors pull from many of the pivotal science fiction and science fantasy universes in an effort to create a grand new adventure.

By pull from I mean rob at gunpoint, by effort I mean copy and paste, and by adventure I mean sodomized by highwaymen who just robbed you and stole your own work with the kind of plagiarism that only the cleverest of college freshmen try to pull.

Lets see. Star Wars? Check. X-files? Check.
Mike (the Paladin)
I sort of fallen behind on my "reviewing" of late.

Not that anyone has been exactly shattered by that.

This is a pretty good book. I think the synopsis is a bit misleading. It says that it's a book about survival on a tremendously inhospitable planet where the General and his most loyal followers are exiled. That there they uncover a "cache of alien artifacts".

The story opens with the set up and the exile and then jumps forward 10 years into the future and what they uncover isn't exactly a cache
The blurb above is somewhat misleading since the novel is classic space opera in the style of KJA' Seven Suns and follows the absolute same narrative structure with various pov's (good, bad, unclear which, but mostly good/bad) in various threads, in various locations throughout the settled universe - here there are 20 core-worlds exploiting 54 colony worlds of which the so called Hellhole is just one though it is quickly clear it will be the most important - threads that intertwine, separate... ...more
Well I got half way through this book and decided to quit it. I skimmed through as well and it looks like I'm not missing much. I'm disappointed in this one a lot because I've read these guys Dune Trilogy and like it, in fact I want to read it again some day too. This book however just doesn't go anywhere at all and there's no action or hardly anything I'd consider Sci-fi too! I think the only action in the first 100 pages is an electrical storm. I understand it's book 1 of 3 but hell there's a ...more
William Armstrong
I just finished reading this book, and I have to say wow. I was immediately hooked after the preface, where we immediately jump into the back story of a brilliantly written General on the day of biggest defeat. From there, we jump into a well thought out plot that has surprises that are that very rare thing, a surprise. I usually find myself knowing the outcome of a book about midway through, yet with this novel, I found myself pleasantly, and unpleasantly, surprised by the events of each charac ...more
This review originally appeared at

Frontier planet Hallholme has earned the moniker Hellhole due to its immensely inhospitable environment: static storms, myriad endemic illnesses, and poor agricultural prospects are just a few of the issues that its down-and-out inhabitants have to deal with. But Hellhole is, after all, a no man’s land that at its best is a dumping ground for the Empire’s unwanted, including General Tiber Adolphus, whose attempt at revolt against the
By Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Publisher: Tor
Published In: New York, NY
Date: 2011
Pgs: 532

Hellhole, the last stop for those trying to make a new start. A shattered world subjected to an asteroid impact in the recent geologic past. The end of the line in the Deep Zone, the recently colonized part of The Constellation. Here the rebel General Adolphus is exiled. Expected to fail and die on the hellish planet, the General makes a go of it. Abiding by his terms of surrender…unti
Plot holes are like pot holes some time you go over them and sometimes they swallow you whole. To me they were big ones.

The first is the planet hellhole itself. While it is meant as a penal colony and as harsh place to live. The progression from that to the transport hub and not to bad a place to live within ten years on a population of 100,000 and ten years. Certainly there explanations and descriptions to flesh out and explain this miracle but it was all just too good to be true.

The second wa
Last spring I visited a private beach in Georgia. I walked the shoreline, then waded in expecting to get out far enough to swim in the ocean. Unfortunately, when knee deep in the water, before it was deep enough to swim, my feet slid into a trench of silt and muck that sucked me down knee deep into sedimental ooze and I became trapped as though in quicksand.

Apparently, I didn't drown.

But, I very nearly decided not to go swimming that day.

Hellhole is rather like that day at the beach. Before you
William M.
I was an instant fan of authors Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson after reading their Dune collaborations. I read them in the chronological timeline order starting with The Butlerian Jihad, and I became hooked on their smooth and fast paced style. Like mini cliffhangers, they keep their chapters extremely short which allow the reader to move to different characters and dramatic situations at such a rapid pace, you find yourself reading a lot more than you normally would. This new series is no ...more
Flunked the Hundred Page Test, even though I hung on for 176 pages.

The plot might have eventually connected, if we ever got to it, but the characters were unrealistic from the opening. (In fact, had it not been for the Prologue, I might have stuck with the book longer.)

Don't waste your money. If it's free, don't waste your time.

Not a good read.
I read the sample on the Kindle app. It seems to be in that epic fantasy mold with lots of characters, some of them royalty. Ian Banks could make the planet more hellish.
Dear Brian Herbert,

I am writing to inform you that your writing sucks. As in the real world, characters should not be written as purely evil or saccharin-sweetly scrupulous. In the real world, we have shades of grey. Not only are characters written this way more true to life, but they are a hell of a lot more entertaining to read about. The characters in the book were so far from three-dimensional that I want to call them one-dimensional, although thinking about that makes my head hurt. Instead,
I pick up an audio copy and book copy of the “HellHole” at the same time.
I wasn't crazy about the voice over for the book as it set a little bit over dramatic mood for the book, it all read as it is tail from a Crip.
However it did help to go over some part of the book that would seems slow at the beginning.

The book is sci fi novel in the imagined future, where humanity spread it wings and settled on many different planets across different constellations. The system governor by the bunch of bure
Geoffrey Stokker
This book was difficult to read because it was just so boring to read. There are no direct confrontations, except in the prologue and even in that the confrontation isn't that flash. None of the antagonists face each other directly and while I can understand that this is the first novel in a trilogy there is nothing compelling enough to pull readers through to the second or third novel.

There are several problems with the novel, which I'll go through below...

The planet was a hellhole? Really? It
Emily S.

When I first started seeing hype about this book, I knew I had to read it. Kevin J. Anderson is one of my favorite authors EVER, and I'll read anything he's written. And Brian Herbert, well, you may have heard of his dad...Frank Herbert...of Dune fame. Plus he went on to write several more books in the Dune series. So yeah. This was a big deal.

I started reading the second I got the book from the library (They took forever to order it. LAME!). At first, I had a hard time following the action beca
First, I will say that this was an easy, fun read. The chapters are short and the writing style is very accessible, with plenty of action.

I have read a few reviews complaining about a lack of character depth, and while I largely agree, I will leave that argument to others. I was more put off by the flatness of the setting; each planet in the great Constellation is barely described, leaving a picture of tiny one-dimensional orbs with one climate, one ecosystem and perhaps one major resource, if a
Jeff LaSala
I can’t help but regard Hellhole as a gateway novel to contemporary space opera. It’s the sort of fantastical science fiction that immerses you not merely into a scattering of new ideas, but into an entirely new setting. Like a lot of works in this subgenre, it's got a large cast of characters, it cuts frequently back and forth between many realms and events, and centers more on the story itself than the scientific explanations behind the technology. I found the narrative eased me into every fac ...more
C-Cose Daley
Overall, I thought this first novel in a series was a very good read. The characters were sufficiently established to carry the story arc--unlike some readers, I don't need a full back-story for each character. Their motivations and eventual actions were synchronous for the most part. I also found it refreshing the BH & KJA were able to establish the environment without long passages describing every blade of grass, tree species, and building adornments (some of their Dune novels tended towa ...more
I was really enjoying this book quite a lot. Other planets, aliens, mysterious alien artifacts, telemancy, good guys and bad guys, and multiple interesting sorylines weaved together in ways that made you want to see how things would play out. I would have liked to read about more hellishness on Hellhole (they skip through most of the colonization) but it was still pretty fascinating.

The only problem was that it ends on a cliffhanger. A "screw you, it's too late now!" ending that leaves you feeli
Do not waste your time reading this.


A GoodReads member named Drew challenged me to explain my very negative response to this book. I have read it months ago, but that is what I remember:

-It could have benefited from editing. There are numerous places where we are told the information that we were already informed about, sometimes on the same page.

-A number of decisions and actions of the characters seem to defy logic of their background and seem to be bent explicitly to allow for the plot.

Martin Hill
I "read" the audio book version of Hell Hole and found it virtual page turner. I enjoyed this book so much, I didn't mind getting stuck in traffic. This sci-fi thriller spans about five years as a group of defeated pro-democracy rebels, banished to a planet they call Hell Hole, plot their independence from the oligarchic "Constellation" and its hated rule, the Diadem. The characters are well rounded and sympathetic. This is the first of a series, and I was disappointed with the cliff-hanger endi ...more
Jason Fischer
This book was just great fun. While at times some of the supporting characters felt like ciphers, this is only a minor criticism of a great yarn. I also wanted to see more of Hellhole itself, but the story itself was an enjoyable page-turner, and more than makes up for these minor nitpicks. Great villains, galactic war, aliens, this book has it all.

In fact, this story was gripping enough to make me forget about Adelaide's awful public transport for the better part of a week, which to me is the m
I have given this book a one-star rating for one major reason. THEY LEFT OUT THE ENDING.

I waded through the 650 pages of this book, and found it passably enjoyable, though as others have pointed out there are plenty of holes in the plot. More inportantly it is hugely padded out - it could have usefully been pruned down to about 400 pages.

I got to page 643 and everything was set up for the final big battle scene. I turned the page and was into the appendices with lists of planets and stuff.

A book I read for the Endeavour Award. This is not exactly a bad book - actually it is written fairly well. It just uses every single trite predictable trope of space opera (it may have left off one or two, but not many) and drops them together in one big gloop. Possession by aliens, alien ascension, unobtanium, aristocratic interstellar organization,... If you've never read any other sf you might even like it. But for me it just came off a stupid.
Fantasy Literature
After a failed rebellion against the corrupt regime of the Constellation (an interstellar empire that spans dozens of worlds) General Tiber Adolphus is exiled to the newly colonized and extremely hostile planet of Hallholme. Because of the harsh conditions of this world, it is quickly awarded a nickname: Hellhole. His rebellion may have failed, but Adolphus still commands the loyalty of much of the population. Despite attempts by the ruler of the Constellation, Diadem Michella Duchenet, to make ...more
A. Roy King
"Hellhole" is the first in a relatively new science-fiction series co-authored by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

In the story, the survivors of a failed rebellion are banished to Hellhole, a chaotic and dangerous planet recently devastated by an asteroid impact. Against all odds, they build a society and an economy, and are secretly planning a resurgence of the rebellion. Settlers, misfits, criminals, and exiles come to Hellhole to seek new opportunities -- or simply because they have no ch
Ari Beighley
Forever incapable of escaping his father's insurmountable literary legacy, it seems that Brian Herbert has resigned himself to resetting his father's seminal classic "Dune" in new, less scintillating settings with considerably more boring characters. A solid disappointment.
Wow. The prose so is comically awful I'm not sure I made it through the prologue. Plus some bad signs of sci-fi "borrowed furniture". I'll pass.
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What do you think of this book? 10 26 Nov 16, 2012 01:33PM  
Some of The Girls: What are you reading today? 10/2 1 1 Oct 02, 2012 05:30AM  
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Brian Herbert, the son of famed science fiction author Frank Herbert, is the author of multiple New York Times bestsellers. He has won several literary honors and has been nominated for the highest awards in science fiction. In 2003, he published Dreamer of Dune, a moving biography of his father that was a Hugo Award finalist. His other acclaimed novels include Sidney's Comet, Sudanna Sudanna, The ...more
More about Brian Herbert...

Other Books in the Series

Hellhole Trilogy (3 books)
  • Hellhole Awakening (Hellhole, #2)
  • Hellhole Inferno (Hellhole, #3)
House Atreides (Prelude to Dune, #1) The Butlerian Jihad (Legends of Dune, #1) House Harkonnen (Prelude to Dune, #2) House Corrino (Prelude to Dune, #3) The Machine Crusade (Legends of Dune, #2)

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