Aaron Bunce's Reviews > Hell Divers

Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
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it was amazing

Hell Divers, by Nicholas Sansbury Smith, promises a lot from the onset:

Post-apocalyptic setting - check.

Heroes diving into the battered remnants of the old world to support humanity - check.

Conflict - check!

But does it deliver? I mean really deliver? I won't make you read all the way to the end of this review to find out. The answer is, hell yes (pun intended).

The premise for this series was easily enough to hook me. The remnant of humanity lives in giant lighter-than-air platforms, floating above a war ravaged earth. And this really is the last bits of humanity. The premise also is Hell Divers' greatest attribute and Achilles heel, as it takes some really big risks. But in my experience, the authors willing to take those risks are usually the ones worth following!

Big questions plague our protagonists from the onset - our home is a giant, floating platform in the sky, so we need to either grow, build, or generate everything we need to survive, or (big “or”) we need to somehow scavenge it from the surface. Here's where the thrills and chills come in. Skydiving sounds thrilling and treacherous enough, but skydiving into a radiation blasted, war-torn wasteland sounds almost like lunacy. Enter the Hell Divers. Smith did a wonderful job establishing these characters. Yes they are heroes to their people. Yes they perform heroic deeds, but they are also complicated people, sometimes broken by the sheer magnitude of their task (they dive so humanity survives – could you imagine having that pressure hovering over your head?). Plus, they've got a shorter than normal life expectancy. Enter X, our main character, a diver who's spit at the odds and survived more jumps than any other diver - by a mile. Without spoiling the plot, adversity sets in, forcing humanity to start taking some real risks...like dive into a place nicknamed Hades, or mankind joins the extinction list. It really is as compelling as it sounds.

Life on the surface is more complicated and dangerous for the Hell Divers than we might at first believe. After all, they have to survive freak electrical storms just to get to the surface, where they are faced with erratic ice storms, unpredictable temperatures, and off the charts radiation. Does the science get a little light in places? Yes, but in this kind of novel, the plot doesn’t live or die off the science, so it works. We don’t need to know the exact chemical or mechanical processes for separating and collecting helium, we only need know that these people have a method, and that it works. X and his fellow divers are forced to jump to the surface for items such as reactor fuel cores and pressure valves – the kind of tech needed to keep their way-out-of-date platform in the sky. This felt like a little bit of Fallout (which might have been why I liked it so much), as X and the divers are forced to pick through the rubble of the old work, looking for just enough tech to prize humanity another week, or month. But they discover that the danger on the surface has evolved, literally. Now, a predatory race of creatures is roaming the landscape, hunting…well, anything and everything. These creatures make each dive that much more dangerous, each diver that much more important, and the lynchpin for humanity’s survival even more difficult to obtain.

Hell Divers is a riveting book. Smith crafts quality characters, with just enough personality and depth for us to genuinely come to care for them. This is rare in books of this genre, as the pacing affords very little time for backstory or character development. The conflict and peril feels real, too, as we are propelled through the story, driven to find out how this remnant of humanity will survive. In the end, this is a thrilling, fast-paced adventure that will leave you wanting more. I really enjoyed Hell Divers, by Nicholas Sansbury Smith, and recommend that you give it a try!

Footnote – I was perusing the reviews of this book before I started it and was generally disappointed with some of the notes left by others (more than likely trolls). One such reviewers scorned Hell Divers, stating the author obviously didn’t pay attention in High School science class, as a floating ship full of Helium in an electricity storm sounds like a very bad idea. I think this particular reviewer had confused Helium for Hydrogen, and forgotten that Helium, is in fact, not explosive. They might want to jump back into their history book and read up on the Hindenburg disaster. Please disregard these reviewers, as I found their arguments lacked any credible foundation. These are just my unbiased thought, and I hope they help.
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Reading Progress

February 24, 2017 – Started Reading
February 24, 2017 – Shelved
February 27, 2017 –
43.0%
March 1, 2017 –
66.0%
March 2, 2017 –
82.0%
March 9, 2017 – Finished Reading

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