Official Review: Hell Holes: What Lurks Below

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any fantasy or science fiction books or series.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
Post Reply
Scerakor
Posts: 1073
Joined: 13 May 2013, 13:43
2018 Reading Goal: 52
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 30
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 90
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 159
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-scerakor.html
Latest Review: Mervin the Church Mouse Learns to Pray by Brynda Lattimore

Official Review: Hell Holes: What Lurks Below

Post by Scerakor » 13 Mar 2017, 18:15

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Hell Holes: What Lurks Below" by Donald Firesmith.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


What Lurks Below by Donald G. Firesmith is a science fiction novel, the first in the Hell Holes series, which investigates the mysterious holes that have appeared in the Arctic Circle. First in Siberia, then eventually in Alaska, holes in the frozen tundra have appeared without explanation. Alaskan scientists have been brought in by the Oil Companies to ensure the safety of the enterprise, but no one is prepared for the events that follow their initial investigation. This work starts off in an extremely scientific manner, using both logic and science to address the problems at hand. As the situation gets both dire and complicated, the true nature of the situation reveals itself. Some of the members of the research party are more than they present themselves to be and even others may not last the duration of the study.

I thoroughly enjoyed the scientific research that has gone into the beginning of this novel. An author that has done their homework, but still writes science fiction, allowing the line between the two to maintain its foggy nature, is extremely attractive to a reader. I loved how I actually learned something about Alaskan geography and geology throughout the first part of this novel. In addition to this, I thoroughly enjoyed knowing that at some point during this work, everything was going to change. I knew that it was a “science-fiction” novel and not simply a “mystery” and therefore was waiting with extreme anticipation for the ball to drop. I was not disappointed. I best like that the science presented in the book was real and the author entirely did his homework beforehand.

In my opinion, the book itself was unfortunately too short. Perhaps this was the intention of the author and was fully intended, but I found that it did not make it to a logical conclusion. If I did not know that the stories had an entire (or intended) series, there would be no reason to end the book on the cliffhanger that it did. I understand the intent of novellas and an intentional series of short books, but I find that this book would have better been represented as one entire book rather than a group of short novellas.

I have given this book 3 out of 4 stars because I was completely amused by the books story line and the premise of the book/narrative itself, but could not bring myself to give it top marks. I love the idea of the story and think that it is another great addition to the apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic genre, but some of the narrative and the text itself seems forced. It doesn’t flow as well as some of the masters of the day, but I can’t necessarily hold this against Mr. Firesmith. I enjoyed it, but could definitely see room for improvement.

This book is ideal for those that are a fan of the apocalyptic/science-fiction/fantasy genre and are willing to read any and all of the newest stories within this genre. As well, and going hand in hand with that above, survival story enthusiasts will also be amused. Finally, those that appreciate when an author has done their research and presents real science in their works will find a gem with What Lurks Below. Those that find an abrupt switch to religious/science-fiction/fantasy work in the midst of a relatively serious story will not enjoy the premise of the book. I remind all reading this that at the base it is a science-fiction/fantasy work and that logical (as we know them today) explanations for all occurrences will not be maintained throughout the work. If this is no problem, you may still enjoy this well presented book.

******
Hell Holes: What Lurks Below
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon | on iTunes | on Smashwords

Like Scerakor's review? Post a comment saying so!

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 8907
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2019 Reading Goal: 95
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 66
Currently Reading: Sunshine at the Academy
Bookshelf Size: 297
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: Kate Strike by Saramah Hossain

Post by kandscreeley » 16 Mar 2017, 08:03

So these holes are actually something that has happened? Interesting. Sounds like something I would enjoy. Thanks for the review.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
-Louisa May Alcott

Scerakor
Posts: 1073
Joined: 13 May 2013, 13:43
2018 Reading Goal: 52
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 30
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 90
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 159
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-scerakor.html
Latest Review: Mervin the Church Mouse Learns to Pray by Brynda Lattimore

Post by Scerakor » 16 Mar 2017, 08:19

kandscreeley wrote:So these holes are actually something that has happened? Interesting. Sounds like something I would enjoy. Thanks for the review.
Yes and no. This book is purely one of science-fiction/fantasy and although I am trying to avoid spoilers, things swing heavily in that direction about half-way through the novel. The science and geology expressed during the beginning half of the book is definitely merited, and apparently the Author based the premise of his book on actual occurrences of mysterious holes in Siberia:
The idea for this book series came to me when I first heard of the discovery of several large mysterious holes in the permafrost of the Yamal Peninsula in Northern Siberia in mid-July of 2014. By the summer of 2015, some 20 to 30 such holes had been spotted.
http://donaldfiresmith.com/fiction/hell ... rks-below/

User avatar
Lincoln
Posts: 259
Joined: 25 Nov 2015, 11:49
2017 Reading Goal: 0
Favorite Author: Stephen King
Currently Reading: The Very Loving Caterpillar
Bookshelf Size: 48
Publishing Contest Votes: 9
fav_author_id: 2376

Post by Lincoln » 16 Mar 2017, 10:42

I like the idea of it actually happening. Certainly puts a spin on what is to be expected, and the book sounds interesting.
Lincoln's book, Raven's Peak is the OnlineBookClub.org April 2017 Book of the Month.

View Raven's Peak on Lincoln's website.

View Raven's Peak on Bookshelves

User avatar
AliceofX
Posts: 349
Joined: 27 Feb 2017, 06:01
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 363
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-aliceofx.html
Latest Review: The Demon of Decay by Alex C. Gates
Reading Device: B00ICPVSYC

Post by AliceofX » 18 Mar 2017, 01:11

Personally, I can't stand cliffhanger endings. Even if it's part of a series, a book should be a complete work standing on it's own rather than depending on the next one to complete the story. Without a good ending it's like being promised dessert after dinner and only getting it the next day.

Nice review, by the way.

User avatar
Vickie Noel
Posts: 1833
Joined: 30 Jun 2017, 04:46
2019 Reading Goal: 20
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 25
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 53
2017 Reading Goal: 20
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 295
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... 86063">Are you afraid of the dark</a>
Currently Reading: The Cartel Crusher
Bookshelf Size: 508
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-vickie-noel.html
Latest Review: The Genuine Article by Carol Purroy
Reading Device: B01C9JZEBO

Post by Vickie Noel » 14 Sep 2017, 10:01

Not a strong sci-fi lover but I sure am curious about the fact that those holes actually existed and how the phenomenon was handled. It's just too bad that the story had to end in a cliffhanger, I'm never sympathetic to them even if it's part of a series. I'm glad you found the story line amusing to an extent, looking forward to discovering that aspect of the book. Great review!
Stop waiting for what you WANT, start working with what you HAVE. --- Seth Cain
Never be bullied into questioning your own credibility. --- Vickie Noel

User avatar
Yolimari
Posts: 712
Joined: 06 Mar 2017, 02:23
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 34
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 66
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 171
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-yolimari.html
Latest Review: The Sound of Spring by G.X. Chen

Post by Yolimari » 14 Sep 2017, 10:03

Mysterious holes appearing in the Artic? That is quite an interesting scientific plot. What a pity the book is short in length.

Thanks for the review!
"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it."

-Gabriel García Márquez

User avatar
ellieonline03
Posts: 828
Joined: 07 Jul 2016, 02:16
2019 Reading Goal: 12
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 25
2018 Reading Goal: 25
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 28
2017 Reading Goal: 20
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 100
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... 74609">The Devil and Miss Prym</a>
Currently Reading: Terror In Manila
Bookshelf Size: 675
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ellieonline03.html
Latest Review: Isabella's Heart by Diane Merrill Wigginton

Post by ellieonline03 » 14 Sep 2017, 11:26

Huge holes that mysteriously appear overnight in the Arctic Circle would be really alarming. Sci-fi novels like this are fun to read because although they are fictitious in nature, the reader gets to be informed on what to do IF it really happened in real life. Thank you for your review!
"For you, a thousand times over." - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

User avatar
rusyalana
Posts: 613
Joined: 26 Jul 2017, 10:47
Currently Reading: When It Hits You
Bookshelf Size: 109

Post by rusyalana » 14 Sep 2017, 11:27

Mysterious holes that have appeared without explanation ..... I love such science fiction stories where the events are far beyond our understanding so that it will keep me tense and wanting to read the book up to the end. Thanks for the review.

User avatar
gali
Site Admin
Posts: 39599
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
2019 Reading Goal: 100
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 66
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 100
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Currently Reading: The Cat Who Blew the Whistle
Bookshelf Size: 1945
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gali.html
Reading Device: B00I15SB16
fav_author_id: 2484

Post by gali » 14 Sep 2017, 11:28

Mysterious holes popping up and all hell break loose afterward? Sounds intriguing! Too bad about the abrupt switch to religious work. I love the genre, so will check it out nonetheless. Thank you for the review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

User avatar
hsimone
Lilimaster of Bookshelves
Posts: 5861
Joined: 17 Jul 2015, 20:19
2019 Reading Goal: 52
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 36
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 100
Currently Reading: Before the Devil Breaks You
Bookshelf Size: 445
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-hsimone.html
Latest Review: Solar Coaster by Yi Ou
Publishing Contest Votes: 27

Post by hsimone » 14 Sep 2017, 12:56

Mysterious huge holes appear in the Arctic Circle? The fact that some of the research members are more than what they seem adds a bit of mystery to this book. It's great when an author clearly show that he/she has done research in their writing. Too bad about the length of the book and the disappointing conclusion. However, I'm glad that you still enjoyed the book!
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4
Latest Review: Solar Coaster by Yi Ou

User avatar
Strangerthanfiction
Posts: 701
Joined: 06 Mar 2015, 21:12
2019 Reading Goal: 52
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 1
Currently Reading: Night Seeker
Bookshelf Size: 305
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-strangerthanfiction.html

Post by Strangerthanfiction » 14 Sep 2017, 13:35

Great review. I like that the author has done his research on this, it usually brings an authentic element to the read. I like some science-fiction/fantasy and mysterious holes appearing is quite intriguing. I don't really like when a story doesn't come to a logical conclusion but if the following books don't take a very long time to come out I will follow such a series. Thanks so much for sharing.
“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” – Paul Sweeney

User avatar
tamdlyte
Posts: 302
Joined: 05 May 2017, 19:44
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... ittersweet: Sanctuary (Part 1 of 3)</a>
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 295
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by tamdlyte » 14 Sep 2017, 14:04

I AM
a fan of the apocalyptic/science-fiction/fantasy genre
and AM
willing to read any and all of the newest stories within this genre.
LOL Apocalypse stories always make me very grateful for my ho-hum life! :)

User avatar
klbradley
Posts: 2057
Joined: 10 Oct 2015, 21:45
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 78
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 32
2017 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 100
Favorite Book: Bridges of Madison County
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 364
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-klbradley.html
Latest Review: My Auntie Done Told Me by Quan-Tia Busch
Reading Device: 1400697484

Post by klbradley » 14 Sep 2017, 14:38

Seems that I have always enjoyed the "apocalyptic" books, but with the added mystery of this one, it sounds like a great read! Thank you for sharing with us!
Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. :techie-studyingbrown:
–Vera Nazarian

Gbemisola
Posts: 123
Joined: 27 Apr 2017, 06:17
2018 Reading Goal: 6
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 133
Bookshelf Size: 109
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gbemisola.html
Latest Review: Diary of a Snoopy Cat by R.F. Kristi

Post by Gbemisola » 14 Sep 2017, 14:51

A science fiction interwoven with some religious bits sounds interesting to me. When I read a fiction book, I don't have to agree with the author to enjoy the book. I simply appreciate the author creativity. Thanks for the heads up, I enjoyed reading your review!

Post Reply

Return to “Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books”