Hell’s End by Ally Blue

Hell’s End by Ally Blue
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (380 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex, mild violence
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Rebellion, war and survival. Love’s a bitch.

Hellscape, Book 1

Tuck’s a Gutter, one of a gang of violent orphans running level thirty-six of Hell’s End, the solar system’s outermost space station. There’s only one way out of this brotherhood of blood—grow up and be killed and eaten by other Gutters.

Tuck barely escapes his death sentence, only to fall prey to the powerful L’arisian family. Rescue from a L’arisian whorehouse never happens, but rescued he is, and by Gov soldiers no less. Alone among the enemy, Tuck trusts only one person—the man who risked everything to pluck him to safety.

Ivan’s a soldier. No more, no less. But the disquieting things he learns about the Government’s plans for the Gutter kid have him doing the one thing a soldier shouldn’t do. Think about doing what’s right instead of what he’s told. All for a guy he can’t get out of his head.

Getting involved in a rebellion that might get them killed is a problem. Falling in love? That’s a disaster in the making.

Tuck jumped from the frying pan into the fire. After escaping the Gutters, a vicious band of children and teenagers who were bent on killing and eating him, Tuck emerged alive only to be taken by another gang for their prostitution ring. If being drugged to the gills in preparation for a life of sexual slavery wasn’t bad enough, Tuck soon finds himself rescued only to be made a spy for the government. Yet the rebels want Tuck to turn into a double agent and give them information instead. Tuck’s having a hell of a week and the only one he can trust is the sexy soldier that seems to care about him beyond all good sense.

Hell’s End is a quick paced, action packed roller coaster ride from beginning to end. Set in an alternate science fiction world, the planet is ravaged by gangs, violence, and a seemingly corrupt government. Every level offers some different source of danger and conflict. The world building is ambitious and impressive. There are several holes in the logic governing the planet and it’s various levels but the fast, near non-stop action, and maze-like plot helped me ignore any problems. There’s so much going on with such a large cast that the story absorbed almost all my attention just to keep up with everything and everyone.

The characters are well defined but there are a lot of them. This isn’t a problem, per se, but since each new character is more interesting than the last, it does mean that none of them get the space they really deserve, perhaps they will in future books. The main characters of Tuck and Ivan, the government soldier who falls for Tuck, make a nice couple. They help drive the action and give it a central point amid the swirling chaos that seems to always be present. I think there’s too much going on to really devote the necessary time and attention to their romance to make it truly believable but I liked it as a counterpoint to the violence that perpetuates the world and story.

While reading I was quickly and thoroughly absorbed from the start. It sucked me in so I read it pretty fast and without too many breaks. I worry that I won’t be able to remember all the necessary details if there are any subsequent books in the series but the author’s imagination is let loose. The creativity and delight of this world, with all its darkness and hidden beauty, is a wonder. The plot is ambitious and reaches perhaps too far with the genetic manipulations, bots, spies upon spies, traitors, moles, and so on but it makes for a lightening fast and extremely entertaining read. I would easily recommend this for sci-fi fans that like a lot of action and a complicated plot. This is not a difficult read but it’s also not what I’d consider a breezy read either. It’s absorbing for the right person.

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