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Hell Divers V: Captives by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Format: Kindle
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

I’ll be honest: I was nervous to pick up this book. Given how HD4 ended, followed up by the title and cover of this book, I was hesitant to learn what happens next. This made it difficult to get into the book to start off with. Don’t get me wrong. My issues had nothing to do with either the quality of the writing or… or perhaps they had everything to do with it. In the Hell Divers series, Nick has created a cast of characters who have become dear friends. I feel I’ve been with them through their ups and downs, thick and thin, disappointments, losses, wins. And because of this and the direction of the story – for me, at least – it became increasingly difficult to contemplate more bad stuff happening to any of them. About the only thing that gave me the courage to plough on was reports I was hearing from others who had read it.

And was that faith well rewarded! I should perhaps have trusted Smith more… Don’t be silly. I do trust him. I’m just not so sure I trust some of those monsters he invents quite as much, though! And as is to be expected, this book is packed full of all types of monsters. But it’s also chock full of good people.

Given the self-induced rocky start, once I really got into the story, it settled right down into being a classic addition to the Hell Divers’ story – aforementioned monsters and all. I’m not sure if this is one of the shorter stories in the series, but it certainly went down a treat in the end. I’m glad to have read it, and I look forward to reading more about the further adventures of the Hell Divers.

PS: The dog’s fine!

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Hell Divers IV: Wolves by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Format: Kindle
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

From one of my favourite authors… what’s not to like here?! I was really looking forward to this book’s release, and when it arrived I couldn’t wait to dive right in (see what I did there?). And I surely wasn’t disappointed.

Following hot on the heels of the third book, this one joins Xavier Rodriquez and Magnolia in their search for the Metal Islands (and just what are those, one might wonder). But all is not plain sailing by any means. The oceans bring new dangers, not least rogue waves.

In the meantime, up on Deliverance, Captain DaVita must fight through her own demons and doubts to lead her ship, and the Hive to safety. But new revelations about humanity’s past threaten their fragile existence and, as with all plans in this post-apocalyptic future, every decision comes at a price.

Though I didn’t find this quite as gripping as previous books in the series (due to my own reading-related pressures at the time of reading), like the other three books it went down very smoothly, which in itself is a feat that Smith accomplishes with aplomb. The writing drew me immediately into the world of X and the rest, and it was easy to slip in and be taken along for the ride with no distractions.

If you haven’t, go and pick up HD1 because this series is one helluva ride. I cannot wait for HD5, because… goodness me. I have no idea how this’ll pan out.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Format: Paperback
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

I picked the book up (not for the first time, I should add) after watching the movie with our 6yo daughter. She had loved the movie – particularly Marvin, the depressed robot – and asked to have the book read to her.

We loved reading it. It was described as being “like a crazy dream”, and indeed, when the impossibility drive is in action, it certainly is very much like that. Completely wacky and unpredictable, it’s an excellent, entertaining and thought-provoking read. Very much enjoyed in this household.

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Format: Paperback
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

I’ve known of this book for many years, and though people have recommended me, I just never got around to reading it – until now.

Bill Masen, a biologist who works with triffids, is in hospital, recovering from an accident with a triffid. On the day he is due to have bandages removed from his eyes and find out if his sight has survived the attack, he awakens to silence. Certainly, the whole world is different to how it was when he went to sleep the night before. Discovering that he is one of the fortunate ones to have not been blinded when green lights appeared in the night sky, he soon ventures out into the new world.

This story is of how Bill acclimatises to the new world, the people he meets and how he survives. It is also a story of the menace of the triffids.

I really enjoyed this tale. Although it may appear gentle and somewhat primitive relative to more contemporary post-apocalyptic tales, the menace of the triffids is especially chilling, and Masen’s assessment of life is, I felt, quite spot on. I really appreciated how Wyndham really got into Masen’s head and asked (and perhaps answered) genuine questions about how life would be following an apocalypse.

A very good read. Why did it take me so long to pick it up?

Hell Divers III: Deliverance by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Format: Ebook
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

What an absolute treat to be able to reenter the post-apocalyptic world of the Hell Divers. The first book blew me away, the second book was duly devoured, and this third book was no less of a hell-ride.

Approximately 250 years after the world went to hell in a nuclear war that destroyed the surface of the planet, airships ply the skies over what used to be the USA, unable to land on the blasted – and dangerous – earth. Now aged and falling apart, the airships are maintained by supplies collected from locations across the country by the intrepid Hell Divers, men and women who risk their lives with each jump they take to retrieve the supplies, battling raging thunderstorms, high radiation and mostly humanoid monsters called Sirens.

Hive, the last of the airships, recently lost its last two teams of Hell Divers. Unknown to them, some of those Hell Divers survived to find a new airship they name Deliverance. And they are hunting down the legendary Hell Diver, X, lost ten years ago on a mission in Hades.

Meanwhile, on the Hive, a new team of Hell Divers must be trained to continue the supply runs. But when Captain Leon Jordan learns of Deliverance, he has a new goal: acquire the sleek new airship at all costs.

Nick’s prose, particularly in this series, is some of the most beautiful I’ve come across, making this series a qualified (due to the nature of the storyline) pleasure to read. It’s rare that I find books I can inhale as rapidly as these. The settings and characters are so realistic, and the delivery so smooth, that I just wrap myself up in the world for a few hours – sans hot chocolate!

For all this is a post-apoc book with monsters – humanoid, animal and plant – Nick always manages to show that the true depths of depravity are found in the human heart; there’s truly no monster worse than one that wears a human face. I’m by nature not a vindictive person, but I really really hate the villain in this story.

Oh, and that epilogue? It had me in tears. SO beautiful.