Hell Divers: The Hell Divers Series, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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2016 Editor's Pick
2016 Audible's Best in Science Fiction
The New York Times and USA Today best-selling series
More than two centuries after World War III poisoned the planet, the final bastion of humanity lives on massive airships circling the globe in search of a habitable area to call home. Aging and outdated, most of the ships plummeted back to Earth long ago. The only thing keeping the two surviving lifeboats in the sky are Hell Divers - men and women who risk their lives by skydiving to the surface to scavenge for parts the ships desperately need.
When one of the remaining airships is damaged in an electrical storm, a Hell Diver team is deployed to a hostile zone called Hades. But there's something down there far worse than the mutated creatures discovered on dives in the past - something that threatens the fragile future of humanity.
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 11 minutes|
|Author||Nicholas Sansbury Smith|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 19, 2016|
|Publisher||Blackstone Audio, Inc.|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #1,427 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#9 in Technothrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#11 in Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#14 in Dystopian Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
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Top reviews from the United States
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The premise of the book series is that humanity has all but gone extinct and the earth is no longer livable. A few thousand of what is left of humanity live on huge old decapitated airships that require constant repair to stay aloft. The hell divers are brave souls who risk their lives to dive from the ship to earth to retrieve parts that the ship needs or to make life tolerable for the inhabitants of the airships. Just getting from the airship to the ground is a howling and dangerous ride and in some cases half of the hell divers don't make it due to lightning storms.
The clock starts ticking once the hell divers get to the ground as their suits will only protect them for so long from deadly radiation. Worse than the radiation are the creatures that lurk in dark places attracted to the power cells which provide the hell divers suits with warmth and protection from the radiation.
Are you hooked yet? The ride the author has in store for you with this series is more than worth more the price of admission. Your gonna love the Hell Divers series. As of the time of writing this review, Hell Divers 3 is just a week away from release. Man oh man, I just cannot wait.
First and foremost, where and how in the heck are they producing all that helium??? Did the author mean hydrogen? It's seriously like helium appears by magic! Just allofasudden there's a ton of helium where you need it! That's so wrong it's almost humorous!
Ok how is a military aircraft hardened against nuclear EMP but not lightning? It demonstrates the author's complete misunderstanding of science, because basically, lightning is the same as an EMP, so to harden for one hardens for both. If the ship can withstand multiple EMPs, it can also withstand lightening.
Clearly the author has never heard about radioactive plume analysis. Because in the book, the radiation plumes aren't plumes, they're just some kind of static force that never moved away from the source. Even with tons of wind present. That's not how radioactive fallout works. At all!
Ok, You have this diver who's done over 90 dives successfully and has never once seen one of these creatures (sirens). But all of a sudden there's thousands of them out there all across the country. How does this happen anywhere???? How is it that they all evolved exactly the same way at the same time across the country with all of this radiation around introducing random mutations? It's just not possible. Even with genetic engineering.
The list of errors just goes on and on. I can't believe they would ever make a movie out of this tripe. It would be so obvious where the errors are. And sci-fi fans are pretty up on their science, so any movie containing this many errors would just get shredded in every review.
But my biggest complaint is that the little time spent in characterization is pointless if all the characters die non stop.
Overall, good action and an interesting scenario but it really got bland quick.
Zero thought was put into how the world ended, nothing's revealed, and the setting is very bleak and 1 dimensional. The main character has survived more dives than anyone else and I got to thinking, that I'd rather have heard about the successful dives before hearing about all the disasters because at some point I just didn't care, the air ship itself is not in the slightest fleshed out in enough detail to give us a good idea as to how they survived this long.
Top reviews from other countries
The bombs that killed the world were dropped by massive airships that - in a cruel twist of irony - subsequently went on to provide refuge for the last dregs of humanity to survive the apocalypse that followed. Now however, hundreds of years after the bombs fell, only two of these airships remain - 'Ares' and 'The Hive' - each providing a home to a little over five hundred men women and children, who as far as anyone is aware are the last of humanity.
Life on the airships is hard and short, and split into two distinct social classes - 'upper deckers' (crew, and those with specialist skills), and 'lower deckers' (those with no specialist skills). Food is scarce and limited to what little can be grown in the onboard nursery. Medicine is almost non-existant. The average lifespan is just 37 years of age, with cancer being commonplace thanks to the airships radioactive power souce.
The fact that the airships are able to stay afloat at all is all thanks to the efforts of the 'Helldivers' - highly trained personnel who parachute down to the treacherous surface of the planet below, braving radioactive air, storms that can strip the flesh of a man from his bones, and the vicious mutant lifeforms that now live in that environment, in order to retrieve the essential equipment and componants that has barely kept their ramshackle homes in the air.
Xavier Rodriquez is one such Helldiver - in fact the most capable and famous of them all, having survived ninty five missions in an occupation where the average number of missions before meeting a grisly end is just fifteen - but when his home, 'The Hive', is crippled by a fierce storm, he finds himself and his fellow Helldivers required to conduct their most dangerous mission of all to a place with the most severe conditions anywhere on the planet, and so inhospitable that no Helldiver has ever returned from it - the city now only known as 'Hades', with the future of the entire human race relying on them....
As a regular consumer of books in the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre, I found this to be an exciting, gripping, and - the main characters typical macho BS name aside (Preferring to be referred to as 'Commander X' or just 'X'!) - considered it to be quite a fresh new angle for a genre that can quite often end up formulaic and written by the numbers.
'Helldivers' was a real page turner that I found difficult to put down, and I'll definately be getting in line for the next two volumes!
I am a huge fan of Sci-Fi; books of the genre are practically the only ones filling up my bookshelf. That being said, I can honestly say that the Hell Diver series is my favorite. From the diversity of characters to the thrilling situations that the divers find themselves in, each book in the series leaves me wanting more. I've ended up having to order the next book in the series with 2-day delivery before starting the one that just arrived, as I find it really difficult to stop reading once started.
The first book in the series throws you right into the action, with X preparing for another dive; he's way past the average number of dives a diver makes before dying, and its very apparent in his character. What I really like about the series is that while X is definitely the protagonist, the story is told through many other key characters as well, each of which you get to see develop throughout the series. From the ass-kicking heroine Magnolia, to the narcissistic XO turned captain, to the genius yet filterless head-engineer, Nicholas Sansbury Smith brings a multitude of interesting characters together in weaving this amazing tale of human survival.
In each book of the series I've read (only 1 left to go), there is a great amount of action, inter-character development, post-apocalyptic thrill, and even philosophical undertones. The Hive, upon which the last of humanity is living, is struggling to stay afloat, and resources are so thin that a clear class system is in place, with the lower-deckers having a high incidence of cancer due to being close to the nuclear cells. Humanity's only hope of surviving is for a handful of individuals to risk their lives diving to the surface of Earth to scavenge for materials. Most of the areas in which the materials are located are highly radioactive and filled with things that want nothing more than to kill you. In a world like this, would you put your life on the line to save what's left of the human race? This is the Hell Diver's calling - they dive so that humanity survives.
All in all, I highly recommend this book; it will satisfy even the most avid Sci-Fi fan, and keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
The concept was one that hooked me straight away. I love the whole idea of having to dive through the clouds back down to a radioactive surface in search of ship parts to keep humanity afloat. The novel pretty much delivered a darn awesome experience from start to finish. I am not the world's fastest reader (mainly due to work and other commitments) but I managed to rip through this one in about four days (I only grab an hour or so a night, a little more if I'm lucky. Oh, if only I was a speed reader).
The action scenes were particularly good. The pacing of the battles were great and I could really feel my adrenaline pulsing when the Hell Divers got themselves in trouble. The author did a great job of building that anxious feeling of knowing something was just about to happen.
If I had to pick a couple of downsides to Hell Divers, I would say that, at times, certain character's motivations/choices felt a bit strange given what they had going on in their lives. Some of the choices felt a tad forced. I also hated the fact that the main character was called Xavier. I really like that name, but I hate with an absolute passion the abbreviation 'X'. I thought I was going to struggle reading it due to every other line having 'X' written on it but, to my surprise, it grew on me (or I at least was able to ignore it)
The ending was also the sort of ending that was both good and not what I wanted. It left me with a few different emotions ranging from happiness to feeling as though life was just incredibly unfair. I'm not saying it was a bad ending (it wasn't) I just totally wasn't expecting it. This goes back to the author's skill of making you think something was going to happen only to just full deliver you a last minute gut-punch of a surprise.
I am really looking forward to getting stuck into the next in the series.
And what a fascinating scenario. Humanity survives solely in huge airships that fly around above a totally devastated, radioactive Earth. These airships are far from airworthy, and are pretty much staying up there by their bootstraps. To keep these massive colonies in the skies, Hell Divers must parachute to the surface of the devastated Earth for supplies, then ride back up to their airships on helium balloons. As the book opens, we meet X, by far the most experienced Hell Diver on his ship with a total of 95 jumps to his name. It's clearly pointed out that the average most divers make is 15 jumps. This man surely knows his stuff. And the motto of the Hell Divers is one of the coolest I've come across: "We dive so humanity survives." That's their whole existence right there, in a nutshell.
It's really difficult to make any sort of comment on this book without heading into the realm of spoilers, so I'm going to keep to the bare minimum. One of the things I really liked about this novel was how Smith introduced various threads, and how those threads developed as the story progressed. Another thing I really liked was this, and I quote:
That was the thing about extinction: every move became a life-or-death decision, with the fate of entire species on the line.
That particularly caught my eye, having recently seen a documentary on the extinction of the northern white rhinoceros, and how that was precisely the issue - every move made becomes a critical decision.
This book has one of the most beautiful covers I've seen in a good long while. Very relevant to the story, and puts one quite in the scene for what happens in the book. Great fusion there.
Without a doubt, Smith is becoming a master storyteller. I guess that begins to happen when one has more than ten novels under one's belt. Each successive book of his that I read is a step up from the previous one, and his ideas are no less inventive. I look forward to picking up the next Hell Divers novel. Please get writing!
Many years after WW3 has ravaged the Earth what is left of the human race lives in giant ships that never land, they spend their lives flying above Earth hoping that one day they can find a place that isn't ravaged by time and radiation to set down and live their lives.
Keeping these ships in the air requires resources and those resources are to be found on the ground, the finding of those resources falls to the duty of the Hell Divers, a group of men and women who literally dive through the sky from the ship to the ground to scavenge for those all important parts that stop these massive airships meeting their maker.
Not a job for the faint of heart, Hell Divers are a tough bunch and their lives are about to get worse when one of the remaining airships in the sky runs in to difficulties above an area called Hades, the area is full of radiation, electrical storms and a horror on the ground which leaves our Hell Divers running for their lives.
Mutants, creatures that have a fleeting resemblance to humans roam the surface and they are bloodthirsty, they are also right in the way of the parts needed to keep the airship in the sky.
Hell Divers reminded me a little of I Am Legend but with more people and ships in the sky. Once again humanity is shown in the worst of lights as when the worst comes we don't always band together we split in to factions when we should work together.
This is a gritty, exciting read and the beginning of a series that explores this horrifying world and the few people left. I found it fast paced and it does get you hooked in really quickly. Definitely worth a read!