*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
This book was an emotional punch to the stomach—and I mean that in the best, most complimentary way possible!
Parts of this book were so depressing and harsh and terrible that they were downright hard to read. Other parts of this book were so hopeful and wholesome that I actually teared up. All of this book was gripping and filled with intensity. And it was unpredictable in that I had no idea what might actually happen.
*Warning: The next four paragraphs contain SPOILERS for previous books in the series. Also just a note, I’m going to talk about all the characters and events in past tense because I can never figure out what tense to use when reviewing ongoing series.*
The story alternated between two timelines and multiple POVs, and one of the timelines was about X and his time on the surface over the previous ten years. I spent the whole book with my heart breaking for X. With each new passage showing us a glimpse into his life on the surface, another piece of my heart cracked off. He was a great character and an imperfect but good-hearted man with so much inner strength and determination, and he deserved so much better than being abandoned the way he was.
Then there was Michael and his team on the Deliverance, heading to the location of X’s last transmission in order to try and find him. It was interesting seeing things from various POVs, seeing what this mission meant to each of them, seeing what was important to them. I felt for each of those characters too.
There was also a new team of hell divers training and going down to the surface on a mission. For that we had what I believe was a new POV character, but it allowed us to see more of the goings-on in the Hive.
Last but certainly not least, there was Captain Jordan, who was running the Hive. I hated Captain Jordan just as much this time as I did in Book 2, and yet, I found myself almost feeling sorry for him (which, let me tell you, is some damn good writing because he was an awful person). He honestly believed that he was doing the right thing. He wasn’t, but he convinced himself that everything he was doing was necessary and worth it in order to do what he deemed right. It was ironic in this amazingly circular kind of way. The man with no humanity within himself was trying to save humanity, but in doing so, he was destroying it. In his unwavering focus on his goal to keep the Hive in the air, he lost sight of the real goal and failed to realize that to be human means more than simply to survive. The way the Sirens evolved is, in a way, proof of that. But anyway, I found myself liking his POV a lot more this time because it was just so well-written.
Another thing about the characters, normally I don’t like when books have too many POVs, but it worked well here. It gave a well-rounded view of everything going on, and each character was so well-written and developed that I enjoyed getting to see through their various perspectives. I also like how, throughout the series so far, we’ve gotten to see such a wide range of ages, from children to characters 50+.
And of course there was all sorts of action, what between the Sirens and giant swamp creatures and man-eating plants and lightning storms and whatnot. (Ok, the beginning was a little slow, but don’t worry, it picked up.) And if you’re reading this review but haven’t read the previous books yet, be warned—the series is graphic and gruesome and does not shy away from the violence or horrors of the post-apocalyptic world these characters live in.
So overall, this book was amazing, intense, and packed full of emotion, and I’m once again looking forward to continuing the series!
Fans of Books 1 & 2 in Nicholas Sanbury Smith's Hell Divers Series. Anyone looking for a crazy, intense, gritty, gripping, unique post-apocalyptic story and gruff, flawed, but still likeable characters.