Hell Divers II: Ghosts
by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
Cover Artist: Kathryn Galloway English
Review by Jon Guenther
Blackstone Publishing Hardcover / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9781504726016
Date: 18 July 2017 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
It's less often I find a sequel to a book, regardless the series, that's better than its predecessor. Not so with Hell Divers II: Ghosts by Nicholas Sansbury Smith. It was the premise of the book that originally intrigued me, and so in preparation for this review I read the first book in the series, Hell Divers before tackling this one.
This second novel picks up about ten years after the era of the first, set aboard a massive airship called the Hive. In many respects this made the book somewhat of a sort of "next generation" story. To my surprise, however, the concepts of world-building in this one seemed better crafted than in its predecessor. I also enjoyed the characters much more--was better able to relate to them and their back stories. Another strong point about the book was it had a just plain better narrative, almost as if Mr. Smith got his wind and really had a clear direction for the story, to make no mention of a better way to relate it. Gone in this book is a lot of a the needless exposition that plagued the first. The dialog is better, the action crisp, the setting easily visualized.
Finally, the book has a more satisfying and somewhat happier conclusion, which made the journey all the more fun. It had a more positive tone, and there were personal and public victories I could really feel in the lives of the characters. Overall, I found little in this one that didn't appeal to me.
Hell Divers II: Ghosts is a well told, action-packed tale and I can assure readers the first isn't required reading to get into this one (although it will help strictly from the aspect of continuity.
This story has something for even those who don't favor military science fiction and Mr. Smith is to be applauded for a strong comeback in this second book in the Hell Divers series.