Audiobooks. Hell Divers is a trilogy; this review addresses the first two novels in that the final novel is yet to be published. Book one is just over ten hours of listening, book two just over eight – both are narrated by R. C. Bray, and released by Blackstone Audio in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
This is a post apocalypse story, SciFi. Start with book one, Hell Divers, as there are references in book two, Hell Divers II, Ghosts. The earth is in a nuclear winter, lots of violent storms, radiation, and creepy creatures/monsters that are mutant bad-asses. It seems that a couple of centuries ago we annihilated the earth in a war of some sort and only a few hundred people survived. Survivors have lived on enormous airships that hover over the globe at about 20,000 feet. There is a class system, folks in deeper poverty are on lower decks, not sure how that’s established, i.,e who is upper class who is lower and why – this isn’t clarified. It’s been a couple of centuries, and although there are no details relating to this either, many generations must never have left the ships.
In order for the ships to stay afloat, supplies, tools, repair material are retrieved from the surface of the planet – Hell Divers do the job. The resident mutants and monsters do their best to make dinner out of any divers, and they frequently succeed – grizzly details provided. In addition, a couple of divers wind up stranded on earth amongst the bad-ass mutants, and are constantly on the run from mutants and plants with jaws. (Yeah, you read that right) Thus is the thrust.
Some holes that nerds like me notice: There is a kid in the story that wears a tin-foil hat. Cool, I like tin-foil hats. Okie – where’d the tin foil come from? No foil manufacturers. Eye make-up … really? A ship contains 400-500 people at the moment. How many initially? Any population issues to speak of after 200-300 years? There is no mention of a governmental structure, no mention of an education or religious systems – nothing. No mention of basic needs, like water, recycling, waste management. In book two it’s stated that a criminal is given the choice of spending life in the brig or becoming a diver. In book one, the author indicates the divers are heroes – they dive so that the remainder of humanity will survive. Conflicting. Would be nice if the author had been more consistent and comprehensive in world-building. Plenty of room to do this, and it is, after all, what SciFi is all about.
The entire concept is creative, sort of reminds me of 2012 with airships/nuclear war instead of arks/earthquakes. There is tremendous potential to develop a world that the author misses. There is way too much time spent on diver/monster battle descriptions rather than the lives of the survivors and world building on the airships. But, that’s just me – you may find it peachy.
Narration by R. C. Bray is fine, nothing special, but no issues.
Because of the discrepancies in the fundamental story, not recommended to the nit-picky. If you’re really into SciFi and are willing to ignore some obvious oopses, this series has decent ratings, so … whadda-I-know. No sex, no objectionable language, nothing offensive. Some violence.