Official Review: Hell Holes 2 by Donald Firesmith

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lane_vespertine
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Official Review: Hell Holes 2 by Donald Firesmith

Post by lane_vespertine » 25 Oct 2016, 23:54

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Hell Holes 2" by Donald Firesmith.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Hell Holes 2 is the action horror sequel to Hell Holes, written by Donald Firesmith. It is the continuation of an event first described in Hell Holes, namely that holes have opened in Northern Alaska and demons are coming out of them. In the first book, the perspective is of Dr. Jack Oswald. But in Hell Holes 2, we now follow the words and reactions of his wife and fellow scientist, Dr. Angela Menendez. The format with which these narratives are presented is via the “I Remember Project,” which details the first-hand experiences of those involved with the demon invasion through their own words long after the events have concluded.

If you are interested in going back to the first Hell Holes and starting from the beginning, please skip ahead past the next two paragraphs because they will give a general summary of the plot of the second in the series and include spoilers of the first. Still here? Good. Dr. Menendez begins by giving an account of how she, her husband, a photojournalist named Aileen O’Shannon, and four others made a trek to a mysterious hole that opened on the North Slope. She continues to say that demons came out of the hole and killed four of her party, leaving just her, her husband, and O’Shannon.

After many close calls, the story now picks up with the three of them driving south to keep ahead of the demon invasion. O’Shannon, far from being a photojournalist, is actually a “guardian,” part of a secretive group called the Tutores Contra Infernum who have tasked themselves with fighting demons throughout history whenever they appear. These demons are classed into two groups, lower and higher. The lower demons are venomous animals and include hellhounds (much bigger than a wolf) and gargoyles. The higher demons are more anthropomorphic and intelligent and include imps (small and moderately intelligent) and devils (adult human sized and devilishly clever.) The two academics and the guardian, who can use what many would call magic, encounter problems and roadblocks because of these demons along their way south on the Dalton Highway.

I did not read the first book, Hell Holes, before reading its sequel. Although I had no problems figuring out who the characters were and what had happened before, I would still recommend that any reader interested should begin at the beginning. If I had known how much fun I was going to have reading Hell Holes 2, I would have started with the first one. Unfortunately, since I know what happened in the second, and I doubt it would be as thrilling as it should be.

The only detail of the book that simply didn’t work for me was the structure of the “I Remember Project.” It is very reminiscent of the book World War Z, where it did work. Here, however, since the whole of the novel is the perspective of one woman, it seems superfluous. I do not feel there is a need to explain why the perspective from the first book changed, let alone attaching that shift to a larger “Project.” In short, it is unnecessary and unmemorable. I had forgotten its existence entirely until reviewing my notes for this review.

I was genuinely surprised how engaged I was with this story. I expected it to be a bit of fun and maybe an easy way to kill and afternoon. It was both, but also had a professionalism and maturity that, for me, took it to the next level.

A small detail in Hell Holes 2 endeared me to it. Two of the main characters are married academic doctors (as in, Ph.D.) There is no point in this novel where the male character is referred to as “Dr.” and the female character is called anything other than “Dr.” It is pet peeve of mine in books and television (and life) that women who have earned a title are usually called by their first name when their title is relevant. This detail should not, on its own, be reason for applause. But by avoiding an example of common and subtle gender related discrimination, Hell Holes 2 gives full professional respect to the women in the story, and that is awesome.

Hell Holes 2 has a lot of silly elements; magic and demons mostly. But that fact doesn’t stop Firesmith from both having a great name and writing this story very well. The characters are relatable, the pace is driving, and the editing is almost perfect. Crazy events happen non-stop throughout Hell Holes 2, but I never felt confused or unclear about exactly where everyone was or what they were doing. For this feat, I congratulate the author and rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.

******
Hell Holes 2
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Post by twenty7 » 27 Oct 2016, 04:12

Magic and demons are not my favorite subject but nevermind, I always like to read your reviews. Well done

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lane_vespertine
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Post by lane_vespertine » 27 Oct 2016, 17:05

twenty7 wrote:Magic and demons are not my favorite subject but nevermind, I always like to read your reviews. Well done
Fair enough.
And, thank you :D

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Post by kimmyschemy06 » 01 Nov 2016, 06:24

Sounds like a very interesting and engaging book. Honestly, the title does not appeal that much to me. It actually kind of creeps me out :) However, you made it sound like something I would enjoy. And, that was very keen of you to have noticed the due respect given to the female protagonist and the 'gender related discrimination' thing. Great job on the review. Congratulations to Donald Firesmith on such an obviously well written book.

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Post by Wasif Ahmed » 01 Nov 2016, 08:16

Another great review by you. This seems like a book I may enjoy. Congratulations to the author for getting such a great review.
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lane_vespertine
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Post by lane_vespertine » 01 Nov 2016, 22:46

kimmyschemy06 wrote:Sounds like a very interesting and engaging book. Honestly, the title does not appeal that much to me. It actually kind of creeps me out :) However, you made it sound like something I would enjoy. And, that was very keen of you to have noticed the due respect given to the female protagonist and the 'gender related discrimination' thing. Great job on the review. Congratulations to Donald Firesmith on such an obviously well written book.
I totally agree, the title is very much on the silly side. But, as I said in the review, I was pleasantly surprised with how enjoyable it was. I guess there is some lesson here about not judging things by covers or some such. :D
Perhaps I am only sensitive of the title thing because of the women in my life. My mother is a Ph.D., and my wife is a scientist. They both deal with that sort of crap everyday, and probably because of them I notice it in tv and books all the time. It seems like such a small thing, and when people are called on it that is what they say. But that sort of stuff adds up. Maybe it is a small thing, but it is at least a small thing we can do right. You know?

-- 02 Nov 2016, 13:18 --
Wasif Ahmed wrote:Another great review by you. This seems like a book I may enjoy. Congratulations to the author for getting such a great review.
Thank you!
If you do check it out (or maybe the first one first) let me know what you think!

-- 02 Nov 2016, 17:52 --
Wasif Ahmed wrote:Another great review by you. This seems like a book I may enjoy. Congratulations to the author for getting such a great review.
Hey thanks! I actually just looked at one of your reviews!
It is a fun book. Perfect for a day lazing about.

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Post by Monica R » 02 Nov 2016, 17:44

kimmyschemy06 wrote:Sounds like a very interesting and engaging book. Honestly, the title does not appeal that much to me. It actually kind of creeps me out :)
+1, the title made me snort a little bit.

I'm surprised at how interesting this book sounds. I'll have to check out Hell Holes and its sequel!

Do you know if there are more planned in the series?

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lane_vespertine
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Post by lane_vespertine » 02 Nov 2016, 22:45

Monica R wrote:
kimmyschemy06 wrote:Sounds like a very interesting and engaging book. Honestly, the title does not appeal that much to me. It actually kind of creeps me out :)
+1, the title made me snort a little bit.

I'm surprised at how interesting this book sounds. I'll have to check out Hell Holes and its sequel!

Do you know if there are more planned in the series?
Well, I don't want to give anything away... Maybe?

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Post by Kia » 11 Nov 2016, 19:34

This doesn't really seem like my kind of book, but I'm glad that you enjoyed it. Congratulations to the author on such a fantastic review!
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Post by Lauren M » 06 Dec 2016, 20:32

I absolutely love the title. Great review!

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Post by gali » 18 Nov 2017, 07:28

Three survivors trying to keep ahead of the demon invasion and facing life-threatening situations? Sounds exciting! It is indeed awesome that there is not any gender-related discrimination. Not sure it is for me, but I am glad you enjoyed the book. Thank you!
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)

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Post by JuliaKay » 18 Nov 2017, 07:33

The cover art and title of the book are somewhat of a turn off for me. This review makes me want to at least give the book a chance. It is interesting that the author changes the perspective for this book. Good review! :)

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Post by ktrae910 » 18 Nov 2017, 07:35

Not usually my kind of book, but the review makes it sound interesting.

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Post by BoyLazy » 18 Nov 2017, 07:43

I've never read a book with demons and magic.. 4 out of 4 is really good rating. Thanks for the review. I'll give this book a try ?
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Post by mindyg123 » 18 Nov 2017, 07:43

Great review. A continuation of the novel I thoroughly enjoyed.Magic, demons and guardians abound in the sequel . I love a good apocalyptic novel and I already read book one and will dive into book 2 ASAP. Congrats on being BOTD

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