#Book Review – A Slave’s Revenge (Hell Holes #4); D. Firesmith

Book review stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for A Slave’s Revenge (Hell Holes #4), a sci-fi novel written by Donald Firesmith.

First thing first, let me thank the author and the publisher, Magic Wand Press, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip* 

MEET THE BOOK

When demonic aliens kill his father and teleport 15-year-old Paul Chapman, his sister, and mother to Hell as slaves, he learns just how far he’ll go to survive, get revenge, and regain his freedom.

After killing his father, a marauding band of alien demons captures 15-year-old Paul Chapman, his mother, and his twin sister. Taken as slaves and food to Hell, a planet orbiting a nearby star, their survival is extraordinarily difficult and far from certain. As the years pass, Paul learns he only has two choices: live as a powerless slave or die as food for his masters. How much must Paul collaborate with his demon masters to survive?

Hell Holes 4: A Slave’s Revenge is a prequel to the first three books in the series. Paul Chapman, its protagonist, is also a character in Hell Holes 3: To Hell and Back.


Sci-fi, fantasy 
Hell Holes Series – 4th installment
Magic Wand Press
Publication date: 01/10/21
Purchase links

Amazon.com

READ MY REVIEW

Cover: It reminds me of those high fantasy covers of Edizioni Nord. Very fitting.

I used to devour fantasy and sci-fi novels when I was young. My drug of choice, if you will, that kept me going through the nineties—age-appropriate books has never been my strongest suit, yes. Anyway, I stopped reading them in the following decade, after realizing that I was filling my shelves with the same story. Different titles, different names and different locations, same plot.

The thing is, it takes a lot of talent to write a sci-fi novel with something new to say. A fresh take. A Slave’s Revenge, the fourth installment of the Hell Holes series, does have that fresh take, and it comes under the form of demonic aliens. They hail from Hell, which is a physical place, and kidnap people in order to enslave them. Our MC, Paul, gets captured when he’s a teenager, and works his way to the top, sort of, before he manages to get his revenge. Saving the world while he’s at it may or may not be a plus.

First thing first, A Slave’s Revenge works fine as a standalone, which is an immense relief. I’m aware of the point of writing a series, but I’m also aware that finding 1) all the books and 2) in the correct order might be tricky sometimes, even more so for people who rely on libraries. 

…I mean, I’m still hearing Kill Bill sirens whenever I look at the Belgariad series.

The first-person POV is done well, even if it feels a little impersonal sometimes. It’s a feature I enjoy a lot because first POVs tend to smother readers with feelings and I’d rather not, thanks, but from an objective standpoint, it’s an unusual choice. Great pacing overall too, neither too slow nor too fast.

The cast of characters is rather big, and it’s handled in a smooth, competent way. Everyone reads realistic yet book-appropriate—depending on the genre, I expect different levels of realism—and the same goes with dialogues. A special mention goes to the world-building: Firesmith avoids the trap of infodumping, doling out details and descriptions when they become relevant to the story. Well done!

Drawings of the demons/aliens and a glossary at the end complete the package, giving it a refined feel.

Criticisms? Three, albeit they’re minor and on the technical side: a few typos the proofreader missed, the overuse of first name/last name after a human character has been introduced, and a plot-related detail I could not figure out. Still, A Slave’s Revenge proves to be an engrossing novel, and I’m glad I’ve been able to read it.

Speaking of, if Firesmith wants to send me the other books, by all means… 😀

4,5 stars rounded up to 5.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Donald Firesmith is a multi-award-winning author of speculative fiction including science fiction (alien invasion), fantasy (magical wands), and modern urban paranormal novels.

Prior to recently retiring to devote himself full-time to his novels, Donald Firesmith earned an international reputation as a distinguished engineer, authoring seven system/software engineering books based on his 40+ years spent developing large, complex software-intensive systems.

He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs and cats.

Website: Donald Firesmith

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