Review by Elizabetta

TITLE: Hell’s End
SERIES: Hellscape
AUTHOR: Ally Blue
PUBLISHER: Samhain Publishing
BLURB: Rebellion, war and survival. Love’s a bitch.

Tuck’s a Gutter, one of a gang of violent orphans running level thirty-six of Hell’s End, the solar system’s outermost space station. There’s only one way out of this brotherhood of blood—grow up and be killed and eaten by other Gutters.

Tuck barely escapes his death sentence, only to fall prey to the powerful L’arisian family. Rescue from a L’arisian whorehouse never happens, but rescued he is, and by Gov soldiers no less. Alone among the enemy, Tuck trusts only one person—the man who risked everything to pluck him to safety.

Ivan’s a soldier. No more, no less. But the disquieting things he learns about the Government’s plans for the Gutter kid have him doing the one thing a soldier shouldn’t do. Think about doing what’s right instead of what he’s told. All for a guy he can’t get out of his head.

Getting involved in a rebellion that might get them killed is a problem. Falling in love? That’s a disaster in the making.

REVIEW:

Hell’s End starts strong with its depiction of a dark, dystopian future-world where anarchy reigns supreme. A multilevel deep-space station is the backdrop for a story about power struggle. Some of the station levels are home to regular folk. Some are fierce battlegrounds where ‘Families’—the Sorensen, L’arisian, Ortega and McDougal clans, feud for supremacy. Factor into this the Government (Gov), the secretive, corrupt, evil, villain of the story whispered to have experimented with genetic and psychological modifications on adults and children. Some have been chosen, willingly or not, for their enhanced physical, mental or extrasensory abilities, to act as clandestine agents. Of course, where there is an evil ruling body, there has to be a rebellion— in this case a rag-tag group of fighters unhappy with the repressive regime.

Enter Tucker, member of the vicious Gutter gang, a group of street kids ranging from toddler to young adult. They live on the edge, roaming the station levels, looting, wreaking havoc and just trying to stay alive. They are orphans, abandoned or lost from their families, who have formed their own nest. For some reason when a Gutter ‘comes of age’ (unspecified, but I’m guessing around eighteen-years-old) they are ousted, hunted, and eaten by the other members of the gang. Hey, it’s the future, and food is scarce. It’s never clear what triggers this expulsion, but Tucker’s time has come. Lucky for him, the Gov had sent in hunky soldier, Ivan, to the rescue just in the nick of time, from a gutting and spit-roasting. It seems that Tucker has something the Government wants and needs. He is a valuable commodity. And anyone can be conscripted to work for the cause. As long as they want to stay alive, that is. To add further interest, the rebellion also has its eye on both Tucker and Ivan.

So, here we have an intriguing premise with a hard-core anti-hero who has defied all odds for survival. Unfortunately, the story starts to lose steam. Boy meets boy, lust ensues, and there is much hand-holding and stolen kisses. All good and dandy but it seems it’s mostly convenience that keeps Tucker and Ivan together. And we meander from the dark desperation of this dystopia waiting in the wings, to our heroes, sweet as they are, waiting for something to happen. Tucker, with his mysterious super ability, is relegated to an administrative position, of all things (is this how you treat a talented, ninja dude?), putting the kibosh on any real double-agent super-sleuthing for the rebellion. We are given a lot of secondary characters, mostly in the rebellion, but none of them are more than sketched-out figures. In fact, the most interesting side characters are not human. Creepy predators, the engineered “nanobots,” remind me of the ‘Borg’ from the Star Trek TV show— creatures of the hive mind.  So, our MC’s Ivan and Tucker, continue to moon after each other, looking for something to do. And then, Boom. About two-thirds of the way into the plot things lurch into high gear and we finally get some interesting action. Tucker finally comes into his own. I only wish this could have happened earlier. Here, we have an interesting premise that loses its way mid-story and seems stronger in its parts than in its whole.

I’ve read other stuff by this author and enjoyed it. The ‘Bay City Paranormal Investigations’ series is fun and well done— I found the writing there better put together. Still, sci-fi lovers who want some sexy boy action mixed in will find something to like in “Hell’s End” but patience is required.

Elizabetta’s Rating: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

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Elizabetta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love
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Comments
  1. This looks like it’s a very interesting read for anyone who’s into science-fiction and horror. looks like a must-read.

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