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Hell's End - Ally Blue
Hell’s End starts strong with its depiction of a dark, dystopian future-world where anarchy reigns supreme. A multilevel deep-space station is the backdrop for a story about power struggle. Some of the station levels are home to regular folk. Some are fierce battlegrounds where ‘Families’—the Sorensen, L’arisian, Ortega and McDougal clans, feud for supremacy. Factor into this the Government (Gov), the secretive, corrupt, evil, villain of the story whispered to have experimented with genetic and psychological modifications on adults and children. Some have been chosen, willingly or not, for their enhanced physical, mental or extrasensory abilities, to act as clandestine agents. Of course, where there is an evil ruling body, there has to be a rebellion— in this case a rag-tag group of fighters unhappy with the repressive regime.

Enter Tucker, member of the vicious Gutter gang, a group of street kids ranging from toddler to young adult. They live on the edge, roaming the station levels, looting, wreaking havoc and just trying to stay alive. They are orphans, abandoned or lost from their families, who have formed their own nest. For some reason when a Gutter ‘comes of age’ (unspecified, but I’m guessing around eighteen-years-old) they are ousted, hunted, and eaten by the other members of the gang. Hey, it’s the future, and food is scarce. It’s never clear what triggers this expulsion, but Tucker’s time has come. Lucky for him, the Gov had sent in hunky soldier, Ivan, to the rescue just in the nick of time, from a gutting and spit-roasting. It seems that Tucker has something the Government wants and needs. He is a valuable commodity. And anyone can be conscripted to work for the cause. As long as they want to stay alive, that is. To add further interest, the rebellion also has its eye on both Tucker and Ivan.

So, here we have an intriguing premise with a hard-core anti-hero who has defied all odds for survival. Unfortunately, the story starts to lose steam. Boy meets boy, lust ensues, and there is much hand-holding and stolen kisses. All good and dandy but it seems it’s mostly convenience that keeps Tucker and Ivan together. And we meander from the dark desperation of this dystopia waiting in the wings, to our heroes, sweet as they are, waiting for something to happen. Tucker, with his mysterious super ability, is relegated to an administrative position, of all things (is this how you treat a talented, ninja dude?), putting the kibosh on any real double-agent super-sleuthing for the rebellion. We are given a lot of secondary characters, mostly in the rebellion, but none of them are more than sketched-out figures. In fact, the most interesting side characters are not human. Creepy predators, the engineered “nanobots,” remind me of the ‘Borg’ from the Star Trek TV show— creatures of the hive mind. So, our MC’s Ivan and Tucker, continue to moon after each other, looking for something to do. And then, Boom... About two-thirds of the way...

For the rest of the review please visit: The Blog of Sid Love