← Back to Hell Holes 4: A Slave’s Revenge
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|4.7 Stars||69 Reviews||100%|
Because Amazon occasionally deletes reviews without explanation, some Amazon reviews below might have links that no longer work. Because they don’t tell me which reviews they delete, I don’t know which reviews were deleted.
5 Star Reviews
52) Life on Hell is Truly Hellish ★★★★★
By Catriona Lovett on 16 May 2023 (BookBub Review)
A Slave’s Revenge is the fourth installment in Donald Firesmith’s excellent alien invasion series, Hell Holes. It’s a stand-alone prequel to the Hell Holes series, but I read the others first and had an enriched appreciation. Though the book is nearly 500 pages, it feels like a quick read. With maps, a glossary, and illustrations of the various aliens depicted within it, you get a lot of bang for your book bucks!
The author features the mysterious deep holes* that began appearing in the Arctic regions in this series. In book one, shortly after their discovery, terrifying demons and their minions erupted from them. Locals, tourists, scientists, and anyone unlucky enough to be nearby were quickly overwhelmed in their desperate fight-or-flight for survival. Our weaponry and defense capabilities were largely impotent against a terrifying horde of virtually unkillable beings and their blood-thirsty hell-beasts.
A Slave’s Revenge takes the reader to Hell itself and focuses on a single character, Paul Chapman. The plot gives a nod to the story of Spartacus, that enslaved enemy of ancient Rome who became an unwilling champion gladiator. His captivity began when he was a grown man and an experienced warrior, however. Paul was only fifteen when he was abducted from Earth, and his opponents in the arena aren’t ordinary four-limbed humans.
There are moments of extreme horror with gruesome bloodshed and other mature themes, but nothing was overdone or gratuitous within the context. After all, the story is of a decade of torturous abuse and forced labor of the worst kinds on Hell. But it’s also a tale of bravery, love, cross-cultural awareness, and physical and spiritual endurance.
The demons’ world and the characters, human and alien, are vividly portrayed and unforgettable. I hope there’ll be a sequel featuring Paul and Ť-loo-shss. I’d love to see them meeting members of the Tutores Contra Infernum, the ancient order that joins humanity’s defense in the earlier books.
Although gifted with an advanced reader’s copy of A Slave’s Revenge, there are no obligations influencing my review. The whole series is a must-read for alien invasion/dystopian science fiction fans. I really love it! Thank you to Donald Firesmith, StoryOrigin, and Magical Wand Press for the opportunity to read it.
*Mysterious deep holes have been found in the Arctic region:
51) A story about events, almost a prologue and epilogue. ★★★★★
By MoonMoon on 2 May 2023 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
The fourth book in the Hell Holes series departs from the story established in the first three to touch on the backstory of Paul Chapman, an individual who was captured and became a slave in the place known as Hell where the demons in the other books arrive from.
Paul experiences quite a bit in this book, it’s not for the faint of heart.
At first, I had expected much of the same that the first three books introduced. The fourth book actually captures the same feeling and scope of the other three books across its length and also does considerable in terms of how the characters interact with each other, especially with Paul’s approach to his predicament.
Readers of the third book, you’ll recognize events near the end reading just about the same (I would have to read back and compare the two), almost word for word. This book begins before the first book and also wraps up how events have been affected by the conclusion of the third book. Without spoiling anything, this book could possibly be read without having first read the other three books, but having read the other three books, it would be much like watching a movie but knowing many details the main character does not. There are details in this book that will cause you to reflect on events in the other three books as well, answering questions that may have been on your mind or even the realization that there were details one didn’t think of that would bring many ramifications.
After reading all four books, it’s definitely my recommendation to check out all four and perhaps form your own thoughts on the story presented. A good read and hard to put down.
50) Kajori’s Review ★★★★★
By Kajori on 25 April 2023 (Goodreads Review)
Donald Firesmith’s Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge” is the fourth book of the series. It chronicles the twenty-three years spent by Paul Chapman on Hell, a planet inhabited by demons and their slaves from their captured planets. Paul had to go through hellish conditions to survive in a world where humans are either food or workers. He lost so much, yet he emerged to be a strong individual. Firestorm (sic) is a brilliant author who creates a vicious society of demons inspired by the gladiator matches of Ancient Rome, the forced labor and extermination camps of Nazi Germany, and the slavery practices of the southern states of America. I like how he imagines various types of demons and myriad species of aliens. The life-like illustrations of all this complement the vivid writing and make the story all the more engaging. Also, I like the fact that the book can be read as a standalone. I recommend Donald Firesmith’s Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge to anyone and everyone who likes reading science-fiction books.
49) Interesting, Creepy Fantasy/Sci-Fi YA Story ★★★★★
By Jon Osterman (author Andrew Gates) on 6 April 2023 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
I want to preface by saying I know this is a prequel, but I have not read the original novel. This is my first introduction to the Hell Holes series, as well as this author’s body of work in general. I also want to address that I am not particularly a fan of the first-person narrative style, so I have a bias against the narrative from the offset. My review, however, will remove my own bias against the narrative style so that I can assess the novel more effectively.
Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge is a unique fantasy/sci-fi book that includes illustrations of some grotesque creatures. A word of caution to those who are squeamish, some of the illustrations and creature descriptions are quite spooky! These are demonic alien characters after all. What else do you expect from the realm of Hell?
The book also contains graphic depictions of slavery and gladiator-style fighting. Personally, I enjoy that kind of stuff. It reminds me of some of my favorite sci-fi alien creature gladiator-battle novels like Battle Planet or The Games. This novel certainly stands among those others.
The novel spans a couple of years. There are time jumps, which I don’t mind. I personally enjoy long-spanning narratives. But if you’re the type of reader who likes stuff wrapped up in a short period of time, don’t expect that here.
All in all, it’s a good fantasy book, and the young character is compelling. Some of the best sci-fi/fantasy books have young leads. While I personally think Harry Potter is overhyped, it has made quite an influence on the genre as a whole. Better comparisons would be perhaps the Inheritance Cycle or the Cassan Astor series, both good series, and Hell’s Holes: A Slave’s Revenge fits right in there with them.
In summary, it’s a good book despite the first-person narrative (which is a personal preference thing for me) with some eerie illustrations and creature descriptions as well as some dark but exciting subject matter. It belongs up there with other greats like Battle Planet, The Games, Inheritance Cycle, and Cassan Astor.
48) One of the best prequels for a series I’ve read ★★★★★
By Todd Roseweir on 2 April 2023 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
I received an ARC of this book from Voracious Readers Only for an honest review, and it was my first exposure to the works of this author. Normally when I receive prequels for an established series, they tend to be shorter works and don’t always give a good feel for the rest of the books in the series. This one was a pleasant exception. It was a full-length book in its own right, and I really enjoyed it. It was a great blend of sci-fi and fantasy. It was so good, in fact, that I have added the rest of the series to my queue of books to read and can’t wait to get into them.
47) Well-written and researched follow-on book. ★★★★★
By Mrs. Yvonne Weston on 25 March 2023 (Amazon UK Review)
I wasn’t very sure about the fourth book, being from Paul, the man who had been rescued in the previous book I wondered how interesting it would actually be. It was. Again, the book is very well written and researched. An engaging tale, where we truly feel for Paul, who survived being enslaved in Hell, against the slimmest of odds.
The series is a horror sci-fi so it is not the sort of thing I’d usually read or enjoy – but I did. Overall, 5 stars.
46) Awesome all-around read!! ★★★★★
By Kris10/Frecklesarelove on 20 March 2023 (Amazon US Review, Goodreads Review, and BookBub Review)
This is the first time reading this series and this author…and he didn’t disappoint!! Not having read the previous books/novellas didn’t take away from the experience of reading this one!! It was full of shocking twists and unexpected turns!! There was horror, action, adventure, drama, suspense, and mystery…all the ingredients in an awesome book!! I will most definitely go back and read the previous books in this series!!
I received a copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
45) Heidi Brett’s Review ★★★★★
By Heidi Brett on 21 February 2023 (Goodreads Review)
What a fabulous read, I enjoyed the storyline, especially as I had just been reading up on the Siberian holes. I’ve already downloaded another book in the series so definitely worth a read.
44) The Book Dragon’s Review ★★★★★
By The Book Dragon on 14 February 2023 (Goodreads Review)
I wasn’t very sure about the fourth book, being from Paul, the man who had been rescued in the previous book I wondered how interesting it would actually be. It was. Again, the book is very well written and researched. An engaging tale, where we truly feel for Paul, who survived being enslaved in Hell, against the slimmest of odds. The plots were well written and varied, it feels very real to the reader and the pace is steady throughout. The characters were real with credible dialogue. There were some editing issues that may distract a reader.
The series is a horror sci-fi so it is not the sort of thing I’d usually read or enjoy – but I did.
We award 5 stars.
43) Official Online Book Club Review ★★★★★
By Peace Odii on 10 February 2023 (Official Online Book Club Review)
Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge by Donald Firesmith is a work of fiction that features the story of Paul Chapman, his experiences as a slave human to the demons in Hell, and his means of escape back to Earth. Back in Alaska, 15-year-old Paul is still united with his happy family before a group of imps and devils invade the small cabin where they all live. His father gets killed while trying to protect the family. He, his mother, and his twin sister leave their fate decided by the invaders, as they capture them as slaves and take them to Hell, one of the home worlds of the Devil. Will they ever return to Earth? What really happens to Paul and the rest of his family in Hell? Will he avenge the brutal death of his father?
With a capturing introduction, Paul narrates an engaging story of his account of once a young hunter with a happy family to a slave and a human gladiator. Paul was described as a character who faced many terrible ordeals and was planted amid his enemies doing whatever they ordered a slave to do, patiently awaiting his chance of vengeance.
Donald involves the use of emotion in the book, making the reader capture and feel the pain Paul and other slaves faced throughout his whole experience. Being a fiction book with a surreal plot, the author’s style of storytelling and dialogue between characters makes the scenes in the book look real and the events that take place relatable. With a blend of action and horror, there is a built-up emotion of tension, grief, joy, and surprise invested in the book. This will leave readers in suspense and judge each character’s role.
Noting that this book is mainly for specific readers who love to read horror pieces, Donald employs an exciting and engaging way of storytelling that lures his readers on what event the next chapter will bring; amidst the terrific description of demons and aliens. Speaking of a good description, not only did the author employ colorful images of the creatures mentioned, but he also used descriptive words that enable the readers to psychologically imagine the combat at the Coliseum and the grief that Paul bore as a human.
The use of sarcasm by Paul communicates comic relief even in a serious situation. Paul thinks that his freedom to run some exercises gives him control over himself but immediately remembers that he is a slave in Hell, controlled by his master. All these features make the plot more interesting. I rate this book five out of five stars. I have no negative comments about the book. The book was well-edited. I found only an error.
Readers who love to read horror, sci-fi, and action-packed books will find this piece interesting and intriguing.
42) Don’t Fail to Read This One! ★★★★★
By Rebecca S on 28 January 2023 (Amazon US Review)
Ok. I’ll admit it. I thought I’d be disappointed in this book by the first three or so pages. The writing seemed amateur and immature to me; written by a middle schooler. I was wrong. Don’t let the first few pages dissuade you. It really is a highly imaginative story that’s easy to immerse yourself in. The saga of human Paul on Hell is awesome. I will not give anything away here, you have to read it for yourself. I will now read the other books in the Hell Holes series!
I received a free ARC copy from Voracious Readers Only and voluntarily leave this review.
41) Riveting and fascinating read. Highly recommend. ★★★★★
By Barbara L. Evans on 21 January 2023 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
Did not know what to expect, not a huge sci-fi fan, but WOW. This book was fantastic. Seriously monster, sounds like a child’s fairytale, but this book is clearly for adults and totally terrifying. I read it at night and kept the lights on. So much more than described! I have the author’s other books on my TBR list!
First off thank you to the author and vivacious readers for granting me a copy of this book in return for my honest review.
Typically I am no into sci-fi books, but I read the description and decided to take a chance. The book was amazing!
It really kept my interest. I read it I was sitting. Just WOW! I have added the author’s other books to my TBR list!
40) Riveting! ★★★★★
By Hilary Hsieh on 5 January 2023 (Amazon US Review)
I read the whole book in one night the day before my finals. This book sent me through a lot of emotions: disgust, intrigue, pity, fear, and respect. It was a riveting and fascinating read, though I could have done without the pictures (as I prefer to leave the creatures to my imagination).
39) Interesting ★★★★★
By Shreya on 5 January 2023 (Amazon IN Review and Goodreads Review)
The book starts with the introduction of a 15-year-old guy called Paul Chapman. Living on the North Shore of the Kobuk River was their beautiful family.
The way the author described the various locations with simple words is something to learn from for all aspiring authors. The action scenes are something to read again and again. The characters were complex and well-developed, the plot was engaging and well-paced, and the writing was absolutely beautiful. This book truly has it all – drama, suspense, and even a dash of horror.
I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a captivating read that will keep them turning the pages late into the night.
38) Kept me hooked to the end ★★★★★
By Sada Rajlakshmi Singh on 4 January 2023 (Amazon IN Review, Goodreads Review, and Instragram Review)
This novel is a century-marked erosion of the high [and?] low divided by the combination of both fear- survival and revenge and then breathing free again. An exemplary hybrid of both the lives of earth and hell. It’s a terrific novel that directly takes the readers into the life of a boy named Paul.
How a fifteen-year-old boy was leading a peaceful life with his parents and sister. How they were pulled down many miles beneath the surface. There [is] torture, there [is a] nail biting experience, there [is] description [that] all made this book action packed and active till the end. How a slave survives Hell’s atmospheric and is later rescued.
The entire story is so well narrated. That the readers would love to read the other books too of this series. The cover of the book plus the title hints towards the plot completely.
37) Amazing Story Plot ★★★★★
By Shahitiya Pathak (book geek) on 4 January 2023 (Amazon IN Review, Goodreads Review, and Instagram Review)
Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge is a part of a Fantasy, Horror & Science Fiction book series, and this book is the prequel. I haven’t read the others books in this series.
My first thought after reading the book is to, grab the other copies.
The story is about Paul and his escape from Hell. We learn about him and his family as well as the horrible path he must take to not only survive but also escape this hellish situation. The alien devils are seizing and enslaving whomever they like in Hell, and it is not what we think of as Hell; it is another world.
The story is lengthy for my preference; however, the vivid description and the fast pace kept me hooked. I also liked the graphics [that] came along with the description.
I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.
36) Stunning ★★★★★
By Abhishek Pathak (ReadingIsBiss) on 4 January 2023 (Amazon IN Review, Goodreads Review, and Instaagram Review)
Hell Holes is a tale of love, loss, friendship, and perseverance in the most dreadful circumstances.
The story revolves around Paul Chapman, a fifteen-year-old boy. Alien demons take him, his mother, and his sister to Hell, a desert world in the Demonic Empire, after killing his father. They only have two options: to live as useful slaves or to perish as demon food, with survival being far from certain.
My favorite thing about the book is its vivid descriptions. One can literally paint a picture of hell. The author, Donald Firesmith, also included some graphics to elaborate his words, I really liked that.
Though the book is pretty lengthy, the smooth flow makes it easy to read. The language is easy to grasp and easy for teenagers to understand.
The ending of the book is really astonishing, and that’s the best part of the book. I am eager to read the rest of the books in this series.
35) A tale to remember ★★★★★
By Madhulika (Book With Madhu) on 3 January 2023 (Amazon IN Review and Goodreads Review)
As has been so very rightly quoted by Heraclitus, the famous Greek philosopher, There is nothing that is permanent except change, and so we as individuals have to face with all types of situations, but we must understand that they will constantly keep altering.
Accordingly, it can be noted that the only thing which is in our hands is to keep evolving and growing to new situations and patterns. And this is why we have been told how life is all about embracing the change and growing.
In the book, ‘A Slave’s Revenge’ by Donald Firesmith, we see how the life of our main protagonist changes on a dime when he is captured, and how subsequently after that, with the time ticking, everything keeps replenishing itself.
Right from the very first moment when he is separated from his mother, we can feel the pain and woes of Paul, and it just makes us more invested in his journey on whether he will be able to survive through the ensuing trials and tribulations, or will he have to succumb and give up.
When faced with a conundrum on what his next action should be, it becomes interesting to see on what decisions were taken, and the impact of such that resulted on the story, hence I am going to give this FIVE STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
34) Soundarya Tiwari’s Review ★★★★★
By Soundarya Tiwari (just.another.bibliophile) on 3 January 2023 (Goodreads Review and Instagram Review)
Hell Holes is really a captivating title. The book has very beautiful and unique cover. I was attracted by the cover and decided to read the book. Well the book is fourth series of Hell Holes, and this part is really the best one and more exploring.
The book is about a Protagonist Paul who is fifteen years old. He is here to take revenge from the Aliens. Well reading all this scene in book is really the best feeling. I was able to imagine everything happening there. The book is best example of Sci fi . Basically I can say this that author has best imagination power then only he wrote this masterpiece.
For the help of readers , author has also given the character discription at the end and some Pronunciation. This was really a great help to revise the story. The book has very understanding langauge and the storyline is in flow.
I really enjoyed reading this book and I loved it . The readers who love science fiction must go for this amazing and fantastic book. The story has really the best content.
33) Recommend it to all Fantasy, Horror & Science Fiction lovers. ★★★★★
By Priyanka Mukherjee on 2 January 2023 (Amazon IN Review, Goodreads Review, and Instagram Review)
If you ask me, I am more into Fantasy, Horror & Science Fiction in a visual format, like TV series and movies. The main reason for this is that I somehow feel these mediums justify the genre as it requires a lot of visual stimulation. For example, consider how beautiful it is to see Avatar or movies like that.
When I picked up the book, I had my reservations. However, author Donald Firesmith proved me wrong with his brilliant writing.
His choice of words and sentence formation are easy to grasp yet so effective. The way he described the various locations with simple words is something to learn from for all aspiring authors.
The action scenes are something to read again and again.
I felt that this book is a great contender for a TV series adaptation.
Overall, I recommend it to all Fantasy, Horror & Science Fiction lovers.
32) ReadFree.ly Book of the Month Review ★★★★★
By David Njoku on 29 October 2022 (ReadFree.ly Book of the Month Review)
What it’s about
The Chapmans live a solitary life. They own a cabin by a river, deep in Alaska – miles from their nearest neighbor. Dad and Paul would hunt caribou and moose, while Mom and Paul’s twin sister Sarah would fish for salmon and smoke them. It is a life of subsistence, hardscrabble. But to the Chapmans it is heaven.
And then one day, Dad and Paul find the corpse of a bull moose surrounded by the footprints of a creature they do not recognize. The next morning they will be in Hell. Literally.
What we love about it
I have never read anything like Donald Firesmith’s Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge – and I, like you, am a person who has read a lot of books. But never anything like this. It is a book that is unafraid to present itself as a rip-roaring tale of fantasy adventure, all the while hinting at subcutaneous depths of allegory. It is a book that will simultaneously have you wanting to speed through to its final pages while also taking your time to chew over every word.
That night the creatures attack. Devils. Literally. They burst through the Chapmans’ door; Dad is killed almost instantly. And then the demons take Mom, Paul, and Sarah, in chains, on a long trek through the night. After a few hours, they arrive at a portal to a strange new world. They are branded, stripped, [and] sorted. “Welcome,” a fellow slave says to them, “to Hell.
Across civilizations and across the centuries, mankind has had myths of devils, demons, imps, and fiends. Every age has whispered tales of Hell, a burning place of endless suffering. Turns out they’re not just fairy tales. For centuries, demons have been raiding Earth for slaves – and now it’s Paul Chapman’s turn. Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge is the story of his 23 year stint in Hell, from cotton-picking field slave to gladiator battling aliens – kextuxixes and blurks – in the coliseum. It is the story of how, even in Hell, you can find true love and enduring friendship – even if it’s just with a takhu named Ť-loo-shss
I don’t know if I’ve made it clear how much I loved this book. Cos I really, really did. Turns out it’s actually the fourth book in the Hell Holes series. It was not obvious to me; there may be some benefit in starting from book 1 – Hell Holes: What Lurks Beneath – or you could start with this book, as I did. Either way, I urge you to click the Buy button and … join me in Hell.
31) Terrific New World ★★★★★
By Melanie Adkins on 17 October 2022 (Amazon US Review, Goodreads Review, and Bookbub Review)
It was an ordinary day for the Chapman family. Living in the wilds of Alaska required [that] they hunt and trap for food. The whole family pitched in to get the chores finished. The men checked the traps, and while outdoors they saw several unusual things. The Chapman men had no idea what was coming next.
Once again Mr. Firesmith knocked it out of the park. I love this book. The world-building is phenomenal, the characters [are] extremely well defined, and the subject is original. I love the direction this book took. It explained things I’d wondered about and answered questions I had. The illustrations are remarkable! This series of books would make a blockbuster set of movies. If you aren’t reading Mr. Firesmith’s books, why?
I didn’t find any issues with this one.
I gave this one 5 cheers out of 5 because it is that good. The author provided a copy of the book but I chose to review it.
30) Renee’s Review ★★★★★
By Renee on 28 August 2022 (Goodreads Review)
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
This is by far the strongest book in the series and for good reason. We get to see a lot more of the range that Firesmith is able to write, and I absolutely loved it from beginning to end. There’s more complexity here, this feels like an actual journey rather than the race to the finish line the first three books in the series were, and I’m oddly glad that I picked this up despite it originally sounding like a companion. Don’t be fooled by some of the ad copy, this is a sequel through and through that feels like a perfect finale.
29) The Wishing Shelf Book Awards Review ★★★★★
By Billy Buttons (The Wishing Shelf Book Awards) on 17 August 2022 (Goodreads Review and Bookbub Review)
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought:
Title: Hell Holes 4: A Slave’s Revenge
Author: Donald Firesmith
Star Rating: 5 Stars
Number of Readers: 17
Writing Style: 8/10
Of the 17 readers:
16 would read another book by this author.
14 thought the cover was good or excellent.
17 felt it was easy to follow.
17 would recommend this book to another reader to try.
Of all the readers, 6 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘plotting a story’.
Of all the readers, 6 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘developing the characters’.
Of all the readers, 5 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘writing style’.
16 felt the pacing was good or excellent.
17 thought the author understood the readership and what they wanted.
“I suspect if dystopian is your thing, this is for you. Fast-paced, exciting, and plenty of demons!” Male reader, aged 42
“I must say, being a slave in hell is not a lot of fun! This author has a superb imagination which, thanks to his strong writing skills, he´s capable of putting across in a well-written and well-plotted fantasy.” Male reader, aged 61
“I´m not big on prequels, but this was excellent. The author works hard to describe the hellish world, and the pacing is strong all the way through. There´s even a little artwork thrown in, which was fun to see and helped me to visualize the demons.” Female reader, aged 49
“A thoroughly enjoyable novel, rather dark and gritty in parts, helped along by the author´s impressive imagination.” Male reader, aged 37
To Sum It Up:
‘A superbly plotted dystopian thriller with a strong cast of characters. A FINALIST and highly recommended!’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Original, Page-turner, Unpredictable, Wonderful characters
28) A Sci-fi novel unlike any other ★★★★★
By Shelly M. Neinast on 8 July 2022 (Goodreads Review)
Man what a read!!! I haven’t had the chance yet to read the first 3 books in the series, but this last one said plenty. Great storyline, fantastic characters, and plenty of exciting twists and turns to the very end. I could tell you spent years researching lots of places and things, and that proves to readers that you are a very professional bestselling author. Best wishes and good luck in your future in writing more of the same; you have a fantastic creative imagination. 5+ stars.
27) Incredible ★★★★★
By S. P. Dawes on 5 July 2022 (Amazon UK Review and Goodreads Review)
This is a fantastic story that revolves around the life of Paul. After watching his father torn apart in front of him, you could be forgiven for thinking the worst is over but that’s just not the case with this story. Just when things begin to start looking up, something goes wrong and he has to adapt to a new environment yet again. You can’t help but feel for this character and all that he’s put through, but with this easy-to-read narrative, it not only keeps you engaged but it delivers a hell of a punch. This was the first book I’ve read from this author, but it certainly won’t be the last.
26) Neil’s Review ★★★★★
By Neil Clarke on 20 June 2022 (Goodreads Review)
I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is a roller coaster of a ride with plenty of action, romance, and tragedy thrown in.
A brilliant story of one boy’s fight for survival at any cost.
A well-written Science Fiction / Fantasy story.
I could not put this down.
25) Awesome Sci-Fi/Horror Blend! ★★★★★
By Thrifty LoCo (Emily Stephens) on 16 May 2022 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
I was a little hesitant to come into this series with book 4 but figured it would be fine since it was billed as a prequel. I’m so glad I did! I read a fair amount of both sci-fi and horror books, but this one was a fabulous and unique combination of the two genres!
Paul, the main character, was very interesting. He’s trying to survive as a slave on a planet called Hell and is doing the best he can. He goes through a lot, and I liked seeing everything that happened to him and how he responded to the challenges. While reading, I learned a lot about Paul and felt like I understood his actions and motivations.
The plot is full of action and some gory/violent scenes, which are necessary in a book about being a slave in Hell. I mean, it’s not like you’d expect fun picnic scenes, would you? I felt like I could visualize the place and aliens that inhabit it. There was never a dull moment, and I had trouble putting the book down before seeing what happened next.
To my surprise, there was also a bit of humor, mainly through some of the dialog. This helped lighten up a fairly dark story.
Now I need to go back to book 1 and read more of the story!
24) Revenge! A Long Time Coming for So Many! ★★★★★
By Margaret Bentley on 1 February 2022 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge (Book 4) by Donald Firesmith is a stunning epic of the life of an Alaskan held as a slave captive on a planet called Hell by a variety of ruthless Demons, Devils, etc. Slaves from all planets attacked and those conquered. Slaves are either made productive in some way or are food for the consumption of the owners and their pets. Everything written about in this book is liberally described and explained. Pronunciation of nonhuman names is given immediately upon their introduction. The most surprising thing is the illustration of each alien described. This is an overall fantastic book!
23) Awesome imagination! ★★★★★
By Stan Schup on 19 December 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
My wife loaned me her copy of this book saying she thought I would enjoy it. Understatement. This author, whom I have never read before, laid out a fantastic adventure that proved his imagination is up there with the greats of science fiction. I loved the entire story, the characters, the descriptions, the world-building, the action, the resolution, and the limitless potential for more stories in this universe. If you like sci-fi/fantasy this will be a great choice for you.
22) Bookshelves & Teacups Review ★★★★★
By Bookshelves & Teacups on 3 December 2021 (Goodreads Review and Bookshelves & Teacups 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…
21) Best in the series ★★★★★
By Jerry L. Shannon on 28 November 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
To be honest, I really didn’t expect much from this novel, even though I had purchased and thoroughly enjoyed all three of the previous “Hell Holes” novels. I just purchased this prequel novel mostly because it was part of the series and also because I wanted to support the author’s work given that I really enjoyed his previous novels. I usually don’t like prequels, but this was an incredible book. Even though the main character ties directly to the last novel in the Hell Holes series, it truly was more of a novel that stood on its own, building a fascinating world and culture for the planet known to us as “Hell.” Good character development and the story is paced well, bringing us to the point where the last novel ended, and then satisfyingly taking the story a bit further. Well done, Mr. Firesmith.
20) Humans trying to survive a life in ‘Hell’ ★★★★★
By Katrina (Katsum) on 17 November 2021 (Amazon UK Review and Goodreads Review)
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via Voracious Readers. Not the normal genre I would read, but I was drawn into the story right from the beginning. I especially loved the description of the different types of gods, demons, and the world ‘Hell’ they were on. I actually pictured myself as a human alive there …..scary feelings!! I would definitely read more books by this author. An amazing read from beginning to the end!
19) Gripping story ★★★★★
By Donald Liddell on 6 October 2021 (Amazon Canada Review)
I received this [as] a complimentary copy for review from the author via Voracious Readers Only.
The characters are well developed, and the environment [that] the story is set in well described. The story is rapid with great plot twists, and an easy reading style. The story gripped me from the start, and I could not put it down. It is certainly a different take on Hell. It is a very good read.
18) Wow ★★★★★
By Tanya Wheeler on 24 September 2021 (Amazon UK Review and Goodeads Review)
He was taken with his mother and sister as slaves in hell. He intends to get his revenge and get his freedom back for them and him. How can he do it? Will he be able to do it? Will they finally get away? See if he can do it.
17) Jade O’Hara’s review ★★★★★
By Jade O’Hara’s on 19 September 2021 (Goodeads Review)
A great addition to the Hell Holes series! A Slave’s Revenge is an adventure – in fact, the whole series is. I fell in love with the first of the series and read all the others in one breath. This book answered so many questions I had; it is a prequel to the series. It was exciting and I’m glad the author did it. An absolute must-read for the fans of Hell Holes and all the readers who enjoy quality, compelling books.
16) A great read ★★★★★
By Dani Bashline on 3 September 2021 (Amazon US Review)
I couldn’t put this one down. Donald weaves a very compelling prequel to the first 3 books, and I recommend you read those too! Although this is not a favorite genre of mine, the writing enabled me to thoroughly enjoy all of the books in this series.
15) BooksShelf.com’s Review ★★★★★
By BooksShelf on 2 September 2021 (Goodreads Review and BooksShelf Review)
BooksShelf: A great addition to the Hell Holes series! A Slave’s Revenge is an adventure – in fact, the whole series is. I fell in love with the first of the series and read all the others in one breath. This book answered so many questions I had, it is a prequel to the series. It was exciting, and I’m glad the author did it. An absolute must-read for the fans of Hell Holes and all the readers who enjoy quality, compelling books.
Goodreads: Hell Holes 4: A Slave’s Revenge is a unique and extremely thrilling book. I haven’t read the series and this is the first book I’m reading from this author. It turned out this is the prequel so in a way I started where I should. The plot is fascinating! I will read the whole series for sure.
14) Linda Abbott’s Review ★★★★★
By Linda Abbott on 21 August 2021 (Goodreads Review)
Normally I don’t like Prequels, but this book is an exception!
I did read Hell Holes books 1-3, that is why I chose to read this book.
The main character Paul Chapman, his twin sister and his parents, are attacked and kidnapped by Devil’s. To be taken to their planet to be slaves, either for labor or food.
To survive Hell, you do what you are told to do, when to do something, or you become food. Only the most strongest, most loyal slaves survive for very long.
I love this book because not only do you get to learn what happened leading up to book 1, but can read as a stand-alone book. It is a story in and of itself.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
13) Demons and Aliens…Epic… ★★★★★
By Nancy Allen (The Avid Reader) on 12 August 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
A Slave’s Revenge is about life on a planet called H3!! as a slave. 15-year-old Paul Chapman, his mother, and his twin sister are transported to H3!! by demonic aliens, after they kill his father. Paul and his sister are separated from their mother upon their arrival on the planet H3!!.
There are only a few rules that slaves on planet H3!! must follow. They are simple and to the point, but the punishment for disobeying will become fatal quickly. The only way to survive on H3!! is to be the best slave ever or become food for their demon masters.
The descriptions are so very graphic making it very easy to see it playing out in my head as if I was watching a movie. A Slave’s Revenge was so superbly written I could see and hear everything as if I was right there with Paul, his sister, and the rest of their crew as they went about their daily chores trying to follow all the rules and just trying to stay alive in all that misery and filth.
There were so many times where my heart just broke for Paul. I was like how can one person endure so much pain. A Slave’s Revenge has so many different feelings it is like riding the waves. One minute the feelings were up, and then the next they were down. Paul had quite a few sad times, but he did have some happy times too.
I fell in love with this series, Hell Holes from the very beginning with the first book What Lurks Below as the demons came pouring out of that hole in the ground. This is one amazing series. One that I can’t seem to get enough of.
I would like to recommend A Slave’s Revenge to all horror-filled, gory, blood-curling, and sci-fi fans. Grab your copy today for an epic. horror-filled adventure! I would also like to recommend that you start with the first book What Lurks Below. It is my opinion that the books be read in order so you can get the full experience and not miss out on a thing.
12) Superb Read ★★★★★
By Amy Shannon (Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews) on 21 July 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
Firesmith pens a magnificent prequel to his Hell Holes Series. I read the books that came before this one in the series, and now, the prequel is here. The alien demons are taking who they want, and making them slaves. Hell is not what we perceive as Hell; it’s a planet all of its own. We learn about Paul and his family, and the hellish journey he must face not to just survive, but get out from under this devilish predicament. What I like about the story, besides the characters, the ultimate evil alien devils, is there are underlying plots, that are more than just part of the story, they are the story. Humanity, survival, and dealing with loss, in the most impossible way. This author has a great imagination, and I’m glad it’s being shared with stories. It is a very well-written story, and I enjoyed it. It is always a joy to read this author’s stories. A definite attention-grabber, so much I couldn’t put it down. It’s literally out of this world! Action-packed, and it takes the reader on a superb journey. This read is more than just words on a page. Hell Holes 4: A Slave’s Revenge is a definite recommendation by Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews. I look forward to reading many more stories by this author.
11) Pavel’s Review ★★★★★
By Pavel H. on 21 July 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
The perfect blend of action and mystery. The magic that dominated the previous 3 volumes of Hell Holes was gradually replaced by psychological probes of the characters’ decisions in Hell. This is the best book in the brilliant series. The story completely pulled me in, and once I started reading this book, it was very difficult to take breaks. Keep it in mind.
10) Exciting! ★★★★★
By Jame J. on 21 July 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
Donald Firesmith has done it again. Hell Holes #4 is a purely enjoyable read, as are the others in the series. I am not a big science fiction reader, but his coherent and lively style makes this series real page-turners. Would recommend to readers of any genre. You wouldn’t be able to put them down.
9) Hell’s Fury ★★★★★
By Ann Keeran on 22 and 19 July 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
Amazon: Suppose Hell is a place on earth. Suppose that you and your mother and sister are sent there. What would you do to survive?
Goodreads: Going to Hell is extremely bad when you’re dead, but suppose you’re still alive! If you had a choice you could pick slave labor, being a gladiator or the absolute best – food for the devils and otherworldly creatures. But of course, there is no choice, you do what you’re told. Donald Firesmith has written a superb account of life in Hell. Destined to be a classic.
8) Best Book Yet! ★★★★★
By Crystal Fenerty on 18 July (1 August) 2021 (Amazon CA Review and Goodreads Review)
Absolutely the best book yet in the series.
This book follows Paul, the slave rescued in the previous book, and tells of his life as a slave to the demons on their world. The book is well-paced and kept me intrigued through to the end. Also answers a lot of questions about the demons I had from previous books in this series.
Definitely recommend everyone read this book.
7) Brilliant book that really stands out! ★★★★★
By B. Sinsational on 17 July (updated 1 August) 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
I read this book first as a beta reader; when that was done I knew that it would be edited and completed.
To my surprise it STILL held an unworldly allure and magnetic pull; I was so intrigued and wanted to read it in its finished state.
So by my own request, I got a chance to get the finished book, grabbing it with the joyous heart of a reading addict, I happily chose to re-read it, not because I had to, but because it felt like I needed more. I couldn’t let go, even on the second round, I found it was still unputdownable, and beyond very intriguing.
Originally in part I felt I wanted to see if it would have the same impact and evoke the same kind of feelings from a reader’s point of view.
THAT, I can answer by a definite YES!
By all accounts and in all honesty: The appeal and allure had not faded, I still felt that pull. A deep-rooted wish to head plunge into this amazing story when it was in its full glory.
I should admit I extremely seldom re-read any book, because I have a good memory, and usually I feel like I’m “done” with a book once I’ve read it.
So this is a MAJOR exception.
That is a testament if anything to that the book is brilliant.
Regardless if you read it for leisure, or to scrutinize it, the outcome is the same.
In this book, you find well-developed characters with depth, and flaws, shortcomings and strong suits.
A vividly skillful built “world”, full of life forms of all sorts.
A hero that is also an anti-hero (very intriguing).
A storyline that even after reading it twice still felt mind-boggling and stunning.
And that’s just the obvious.
Then there are utterly brilliant dialogues, cheeky humor, emotion-invoking events, and heart-pinching happenings that stuck in my mind.
I’m totally blown away in a way I haven’t been since I read the first Outlander book.
And that says a ton!
In short, I would sum this book up best if I’d say: IF you want a mind-blowing, wild, unforgettable read, one that you will never forget.. then this book is for you!
* An Admission (from a person who usually never reads a book twice): I am going to read this book a third time, I feel like I’m not all done with it, like the story still holds appeal and beckons me, and I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It’s unprecedented that I would feel the want or need to read a book three times! So charting new territory I have to ask… what’s the English word for beyond brilliant??
6) Ann’s Review ★★★★★
By Ann Daniel on 12 July 2021 (Amazon UK Review and Goodreads Review)
I was very honored and thrilled to be asked by Donald to proofread this new chapter in the brilliant Hell Holes series. This is the 4th book in the series, but it’s actually a prequel of the story of Paul’s life as a slave in Hell. What can I say? As with all of Donald’s books, this is brilliantly written. In fact, I’d go as far as saying this is the best book in the series!! Although I do love all the books in this series as they are brilliantly written. And the story, it an amazing adventure from start to finish. This book actually follows Paul’s story from the moment he is kidnapped along with his mother and sister when he was 15 as they are taken to Hell to start their new lives as slaves, to the moment he becomes free and escapes. This is a very hard-hitting, emotional book that did have me in floods of tears many times while reading. The way it is written, you can really feel and witness the emotional roller coaster journey Paul goes through, and it’s heartbreaking at times. You can truly feel what he’s going through, and you can’t help but sympathize with Paul as you go with him on this awful journey. During his time in Hell, he must go through many awful situations just to survive what most people could never dream of surviving. While most people would give up and die due to the life they must now live, Paul fights to survive right to the very end. I highly recommend you read this series; you won’t regret it
5) Raymond’s Review ★★★★★
By Raymond Quick on 12 July 2021 (Goodreads Review)
This is one of my favorite authors, and this book shows why. His father killed, mother, sister, and he are captured and taken to a planet called Hell and for a good reason. This is a story about a 15-year-old boy. His anguish at his personal losses and how he manages to survive and rise to the top as a slave. It is well written and somethings didn’t get done because I was reading the book and not cleaning my room. I am 77, and I still get sent to my room. Anyways, get the book and enjoy.
4) A fantastic addition to the series!!! GET IT!!! ★★★★★
By George Graham on 30 June 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
Are you a fan of Donald Firesmith’s Hell Holes series? Were you interested in where exactly Paul and the alien came from and what they endured there? I was! I remember reading the last book of the series thinking “Boy! Now there’s a story to tell!” Guess what? HERE IT IS! I had the privilege of being a Beta Reader for his latest book Hell Holes 4: A Slave’s Revenge! Donald thoroughly explores the planet Hell, the aliens who run it, and the variety of alien and human slaves that live there. I don’t know where he gets his imagination from, but I would like some of it! You’ll get to find out how Paul gets there and how he survives. The book brings you back to the end of the third book! If you haven’t read the other three books, READ THEM! However, you can read just this one if you so choose. That being said, I still recommend that you read them in order so that, when you’re done with the third one, you can satisfy your curiosity like I did!
3) Riveting ★★★★★
By Brandon Cooper on 29 June 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
Disclaimer: I read this as a beta read for the author.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It was a fun read, and he made Hell seem like such a real place, that it is worse than what you’ve been taught in church on Sundays. Plus, he made you feel all kinds of emotions for Paul, from happiness to anger to sadness, that he was almost real.
2) Margaret’s Review ★★★★★
By Margaret Osburn on 29 June 2021 (Goodreads Review)
Oh my, This is one fantastic read. Mr. Firesmith writes beautifully, but he uses unnecessary (cuss) words throughout this amazing 5🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 book! I put those aside and read around them. I did not allow them to stop me reading this brilliantly written story! Wow! Mind-blowing! This fast-paced, imaginative story sucked me in. Between the beautiful book cover to the amazing prologue, I was glued to my seat and I had to read the whole book. Wow! I could not put it down. Suspense built up from the beginning. Wow! Mr. Firesmith’s clever imaginative details and descriptions hit me like a ton of bricks. Wow! You feel all the pain, agony, and despair of the main character. You feel his every emotion and understand his reactions.
If you love science fiction you will love this book. You will experience his journey and feel as if you were by his side through the entire journey.
Fantastic read! Heart-pounding moments! Horrific moments! Scary moments! Sad moments! Some happy moments! Moments you don’t want to miss. Pick up a copy as soon as possible and become part of the journey of A Slave’s Revenge. Enjoy!
1) Epic Adventure ★★★★★
By Kim Schup on 28 June 2021 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
Every once in a long while a book comes along that unceremoniously rips you from your everyday life and catapults you into a thrilling adventure you’ll never forget. This is that book. Paul Chapman, an unassuming 15-year-old boy living with his family in Alaska, is suddenly taken along with his mother and sister to another planet, Hell, where humans are not, by any means, the top of the food chain. Forced into a life of slavery, Paul must learn to endure hardship, brutality, and never-ending hunger knowing that to rebel or break any rules would result in his immediate pitiless punishment or cruel death at the hands of any number of vicious, blood-thirsty demons, devils, hellhounds, or possibly even another human. Over the years, as Paul barely manages to survive, he learns to navigate the treacherous perils of Hell and he is transformed from a carefree teen to a humble field slave, and ultimately a hardened gladiator, valued champion, and the first human member of the personal guard of Åṣh Ķåh-ṭõķ, a high-ranking devil with diabolical plans for the inhabitants of Earth. During his time on Hell, Paul encounters many species from other worlds who, like the humans on Hell, have been enslaved and forced into lives of fear and misery (I think even George Lucas would be impressed with the variety of aliens on Hell). Paul wants nothing more than the opportunity to get revenge for the fate of his family and all others who have fallen under the malevolent rule of the devils. Will that opportunity ever present itself? If so, how, and at what cost? If you enjoy the epic sagas of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the keen and often whimsical imagination of J. R. R. Tolkien, or the dark and sinister characters of Frank Herbert, this book will be a relished indulgence. I highly recommend it to all enthusiasts of speculative fiction and to anyone who enjoys a whopping good story.
I was provided with an advance copy of this book but my review is completely voluntary, honest, and unbiased.
4 Star Reviews
15) A Nice Book ★★★★☆
By Catalin Negru on 7 May 2023 (Amazon US Review and Goodreads Review)
I cannot decide if what I have read was interesting or silly.
You can definitely notice the amount of work the writer invested in his creation, but at the same time one cannot ignore the influences from famous movies: “Independence Day,” “Stargate,” and especially the “Spartacus” series.
Let’s say that the other gracefully combined several ideas and plots into an harmonious story that is pleasant to read. There are ideas that I found original and interesting: seeing the devils as an alien species and that Hell is only a planet of many planets of their empire… But that raised me a question: who and where are the angels?
Anyway, the style of the author is simple and efficient; the reading goes smoothly.
The text is occasionally complemented by pictures created by the author himself. While in general I appreciate pictures alongside text, the graphic in this case takes from the seriousness of the book. I would have preferred not to be inserted and the author to rely only on text descriptions.
15) Anita Hofer’s Review ★★★★☆
By Anita Hofer on 21 February 2023 (Goodreads Review)
Really enjoyed this story. The main character goes thru a lot physically and emotionally. Loved to going thru his life with him. Great journey.
14) Impressive Read ★★★★☆
By Lydia Efobi on 11 February 2023 (Amazon US Review, Goodreads Review, Online Book Club Review, and Tutorluchi Blog Review)
Something dark is in the shadows. It’s roaming. The footprints seem to be that of a beast, an extinct creature. What could it be? Unknowingly, the elements from the underworld have been let loose. The turn of events that take place is frightening and grim. A wife watches her husband eaten by hellhounds. Two children watch the complete devouring of their father. Now they’re taken captives, what would unfold in the coming time?
Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge, by Donald Firesmith, is a book to relish. Initially, the book’s length may scare one away. But the moment you begin, your only pause would be at the end of the book.
Donald is an undisputed firebrand wordsmith. I mean, it is evident in his name, Firesmith. He creates an impressive yet extraordinary world that evokes the minds of readers. His world-building is easily fragmented in the reader’s imagination as they proceed. The descriptions of the beasts and places in Hell are striking and vivid. Indeed, the author’s writing style was crisp.
Unfortunately, there were some stalling moments. There were times when the descriptions kept going on for a while before one would reach the message of the story. This act brought a slight decline in the thrill of the book.
Nevertheless, the prominent themes of revenge, friendship, love, hate, and adventure are lapped equivocally in every corner of the book. As you read, you feel the harsh, hellish conditions Paul Chapman and his family face.
What begins as a story of identifying footprints turns into a dreary ride. Indeed, this book was worth the read. I am rating Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge a 4 out of 5 stars. Fiction, horror, and adventure enthusiasts would take pleasure in this book.
13) Wishing Shelf Editorial Review ★★★★☆
By Edward Trayer on 5 February 2023 (TBD)
‘A thrilling fantasy packed full of danger, and with a strong, memorable protagonist. Very enjoyable!’ Wishing Shelf
As I enjoyed this fantasy adventure, I got the feeling the author, Donald Firesmith, had a lot of fun writing it. And, let´s face it, if you happen to write novels set in Hell, you can´t get a better name than Firesmith! So, to the story. This is a gripping fantasy, the reader getting to follow Paul as he, his mother, and sister (his dad gets eaten) are dragged into Hell. This is Paul´s story, the story of the only person to ever escape Hell. And, I must say, it´s an excellent read – well, it is if you happen to be into devils, imps, and all things hellish – including hellhounds!
Now, this is Book 4 of the set, but I´m happy to recommend this novel as a standalone. The plot´s not overly complicated and I think most readers will soon get lost (in a good way) in the grim setting. They´ll also enjoy getting to know the protagonist, Paul. He´s a tough young man, insightful in many ways, and fun to root for. In terms of writing style, it´s simple, but it works, the author focusing on keeping things moving – wise when writing in this genre.
So, what needs work? Personally, I wasn´t a big fan of the artwork. There´s too little of it and what there is has a very computer generated feel to it. Also, I felt the monster glossary at the end was dryly written and, well, unnecessary. I can´t imagine any reader after finishing this novel won´t already know what an elf is. And if they don´t, there´s always Wikipedia!
All in all, I´m delighted to recommend this skilfully plotted novel to readers who enjoy grim settings, strong characters, and a fast-paced writing style – with a bit of horror thrown in! Trust me when I say, reading this you´ll never get bored.
A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review
12) Owen Howden’s Review ★★★★☆
By Owen Howden on 9 January 2023 (Goodreads Review)
In the past all my rating has been via paper books; this is my first ebook. The story line was very well thought out, the main character is very strong and believable. Not a story subject I would have thought of, but it is made believable throughout the book with illustrations and fantastic descriptions.
[This] is a book I would happily recommend to anyone.
11) Absolutely Amazing Ending. ★★★★☆
By Harshita Bhushan (stunning bookworm) on 5 January 2023 (Amazon IN Review, Goodreads Review, and Instagram Review)
Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge by Donald Firesmith is a sci-fi book, which talks about Paul Chapman and his family who lives in the north shore of Kobuk River. The story, as one can guess with the cover, has demons and devil’s interference. The demons killed Robert, Paul’s father, and took other family members to Hell to be slaves of hell or die there. As Paul grew [older], he decided to take revenge, and the story continues.
Talking about the cover, for me, it’s superb. The cover itself has the power to give us a chill. The writing style and narration is quite apt. Apart from everything, the thought of writing about such topic is impressive, and the execution is equally interesting. If you are a fan of Sci-fi books, this one’s for you. The book is full of thrills and chills. It’s like a rollercoaster ride. The book holds it’s flow right from the beginning to the end. And not to forget, the ending is absolutely amazing. Must give it a try.
10) Best science fiction book ★★★★☆
By Soundarya Tiwari on 3 January 2023 (Amazon IN Review and Goodreads Review)
Hell Holes is really a captivating title. The book has very beautiful and unique cover. I was attracted by the cover and decided to read the book. Well the book is fourth [in the] series of Hell Holes, and this part is really the best one and more exploring.
The book is about a protagonist Paul who is fifteen years old. He is here to take revenge from the Aliens. Well reading all this scene in book is really the best feeling. I was able to imagine everything happening there. The book is best example of Sci fi . Basically I can say this that author has best imagination power then only he wrote this masterpiece.
For the help of readers , author has also given the character discription at the end and some Pronunciation. This was really a great help to revise the story. The book has very understanding langauge and the storyline is in flow.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and I loved it. The readers who love science fiction must go for this amazing and fantastic book. The story has really the best content.
9) Crisp Read ★★★★☆
By Debabrata Mishra (Strings2Book) on 3 January 2023 (Amazon IN Review, Goodreads Review, and Instagram Review)
Paul Chapman is a 15year old boy. He has a beautiful family Robert Chapman & Mary Chapman are his parents. Sarah Chapman is the twin sister of Paul. They are living happily on the north shore of the Kobuk River. But alien demons entered into their life & killed Robert. They took his whole family with them as slaves to hell. As he grew up he decided to take revenge.
To know more about the book grab it & give it a try.
🙂 The cover of the book is quite horrific & can make you feel scared at first glance.
🙂 The writing style of the book is quite thrilling as the author penned down such a sci-fi thrilling story in an easy manner.
🙂 Language used in the book is simple & easily connected.
🙂 Characterization of the book is top notch. Author gave importance to each [and] every character to make it a crisp read.
🙂 The way the author executed each scene is quite appreciable & narrating such a plotline with that much depth is quite commendable.
🙂 The Author just perfectly maintained the main theme of the book along with its raw essence.
🙂 The book is perfectly paced that keeps you hooked up till the last page.
8) Thrilling ★★★★☆
By Ankita Yadav on 2 January 2023 (Amazon IN Review, Goodreads Review, and Instagram Review)
Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge by Donald Firesmith is a sci-fiction that revolves around revenge in Hell.
The book starts with the introduction of a 15 year old guy called Paul Chapman. Living on the North Shore of the Kobuk River was their beautiful family. Robert and Mary Chapman, Paul’s parents and Sarah, Paul’s twin sister. Demons intervene in their lives and successfully kill Robert. The devil took the rest of their family to hell to be the slaves of hell or to die. As Paul grows into a man, he seeks to take revenge.
The book is an addition to the world of sci-fiction books. Released on 1st August 2021 is quite a lengthy book with around 479 pages. The author’s easy and well-kept narration throughout the book has done its job. The expression of thrill is immaculate and keeps you entertained all the while. This book is an absolute must-read for everyone. If sci-fi interests you a lot, you cannot afford to not read this. The ending is breathtaking and astonishing.
Here’s the link to get this book: https://amzn.to/3WZXvi0
7) Tony Duxbury’s Review ★★★★☆
By Tony Duxbury on 29 August 2022 (Google Review)
A different take on aliens and monsters. An epic story of survival in Hell. It’s a planet and part of an Empire. Very imaginative and terrifying. Recommended read.
6) Readers’ Favorite Review ★★★★☆
By Asher Syed for Readers’ Favorite on 28 June 2021 (Readers’ Favorite Review)
A Slave’s Revenge by Donald Firesmith is a science fiction novel and the fourth installment in the Hell Holes series, preceded by book one, What Lurks Below, book two, Demons on the Dalton, and book three, To Hell and Back. This book is structured as a prequel to the first three in the series, written in a first-person past tense narrative that the main character, a teenager named Paul Chapman, informs readers is a journalling of his life in actual Hell. Hell is a planet inhabited by aliens categorized as hellhounds, imps, devils, fiends, goblins, and others. Most are skinless and muscular, with the latter four standing on unguligrade lower libs and having templed horns akin to demons. Paul, his sister Sarah, and his mother are violently removed from Earth and brought to the planet Hell, where they are collared, branded, and separated, children from their mother, and thrust into their new lives as slaves to their demon masters. Other humans and races of aliens have also suffered in captivity for the same purpose, either as enslaved labor or, for those unable to work, including children, the pregnant, the aged, the lame, and the disobedient, to become food. As time progresses, Paul distinguishes himself as a gladiator, and with his strength comes the reinforcement of resolve to ultimately meet the desired end: escape from Hell and get his revenge.
Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge has a bit of a slow-burn beginning due to a somewhat prolix narrative of information delivered by Paul, which is told outright to readers. The story hits a comfortable stride when Paul, Sarah, and Mom actually arrive in Hell and this pacing continues through most of the rest of the book. The writing is simple and straightforward with more substance than style in its prose. The first-person narrative gives readers a front-row seat to the action as well as the characteristics of all that Paul comes in contact with, which is quite extensive. Donald Firesmith’s strength as an author lies in his ability to create a cornucopia of races, all of whom are depicted in sketch work art and further described in a character appendix at the end of the novel. The brutality is unabashedly dished out and, as a reader, I really appreciate Firesmith’s courage. Gore is tricky and there is hardly any middle ground between a reader’s tolerance or inability to tolerate what is, without question, torture. This includes children, which it is sometimes easy to forget Sarah and Paul are initially. Paul is resilient from such a young age and to a degree with the potential to embarrass Maximus Decimus Meridius who, in my mind, Paul parallels as a coming-of-age slave turned gladiator, turned revolutionary escape artist, among aliens instead of Romans. Overall, this is a really well-plotted and presented novel that will please those who enjoy witty dialogue, creative characters, and solid underdog stories. Recommended.
5) Story has horror, adventure, and revenge, making it a good read. ★★★★☆
By Kindle Reader on 18 June 2021 (Amazon US Review)
It all began with a large footprint. What wild animal left this behind? A bear? If they didn’t know any better, they could’ve sworn that it came from a dinosaur. But that was ridiculous because they were extinct…right?
That night, the family was attacked by skinless monsters. Yes, demons were real.
“Surely, we had just stepped into He!!. How many miles below the Earth’s surface were we?”
The family was enslaved by demons.
The dark, underworld scenes were so rich and vivid. I got a kick from the cool illustrations. The narrative engaged the reader with its stunning portrayal of life as a He!! Slave. If you disobey the devil’s orders, then you choose death. Some of the scenes were quite gruesome.
The story can be long and slow at times as the slaves repeat the same grunge work and dreadful living conditions daily. The kids put up with it all in fearful silence to avoid the deadly consequences. Once he could take no more, the boy attacks one of the demons, resulting in a new assignment — a He!!’s Gladiator that would fight for his life. This is where it starts getting better.
The details can get a little complex, but it’s the action sequences that keep you going. Those are the best parts of a slave’s revenge.
Story has horror, adventure, and revenge, making it a good read.
4) Great Prequel★★★★☆
By Psigirl6 on 3 May 2021 (Amazon US Review)
Received an arc from Netgalley. This is a great prequel to a pretty cool series. Definitely recommend it.
3) Ashley’s Book Obsession (Ashley Mertz) Review ★★★★☆
By Ashley Mertz on 25 April 2022 (Amazon US Review, Goodreads Review, and Bookbub Review)
I received an advanced reader copy (arc) of this book via The Review Crew in exchange for an honest review. All opinions of this book are my own and I am voluntarily leaving this review.
“I was having a nightmare! The worst nightmare of my life. I was asleep. I had to be.” Sarah and Paul were suddenly awakened at 3 am by demons who invaded their home, killed their father, and abducted their mother. Upon arrival in hell, Sarah and Paul were separated from their mother, when the demons decided if you were worthy of being a slave or deemed worthless and made into food. They were given dirty tunics, fed awful food, and immediately put to work. “I’m going to leave this place a lousy review the next time we get internet access”.
This was my first time reading a science fiction, horror story, and Donald Firesmith was a new-to-me author. At first, I had a hard time getting interested in the make-believe characters within this book. However, I so badly wanted to know why Sarah and Paul were abducted and I had so many questions. Would they ever return to Earth? Was their mom still alive or had she been turned into demon food?
It didn’t take long for this story to suck me in and keep me wanting more. I wonder if reading the other stories would have aided in some of my understanding. I thoroughly enjoyed the pictures of the different creatures. Each time they were mentioned, my mind went directly back to a visual of them. I would recommend this book to anyone who thoroughly enjoys the sci-fi genre. It wasn’t necessarily what I consider “horror material” but did include some graphic bloody fighting scenes on occasion.
2) A Slow Beginning ★★★★☆
By Robert McCurdy on 11 April 2021 (Amazon US Review)
The second half of the book was much better than the first half. The beginning was focused on setting the scene instead of advancing the plot. I enjoyed it once it got going. This was the first book in the series that I had read. I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily review this book. This is my honest review.
1) Dglab1511’s review ★★★★☆
By Dglab1511 on 1 November 2021 (Goodreads Review)
OOOOO Don’t look!
Very different take on hell and demons. Started the action right off with the kidnapping and torture and hopelessness. Death of main characters abound. Evil big old demons aplenty. I received this book for an honest review. I love Donald’s books, but this one is not my cup o’ tea. Still, good marks for originality and the way the main character evolved.
3 Star Reviews
2) M. L. Dunker ★★★☆☆
By M. L. Dunker (LovesToRead, Marcie) on 29 April 2023 (Goodreads Review and BookBub Review)
I read this prequel as a stand-alone and was sucked into the horror of life on Hell. The world-building was five stars all the way – imaginative monsters, situations that aren’t choices at all, and Paul’s creeping collaboration with the enemy in order to survive. I wanted to know how far he was willing to sell himself in order to survive. He justifies each step downward as he plans his revenge.
The story is told in a flat and distant tone. Paul Chapman is so traumatized by the demonic raid on his house and the resulting horrors of hell that he is only able to tell his story by distancing himself from the events. It’s a risky literary move and one that may cause some readers to DNF.
There were so many triggers in this book: slavery, genocide, cannibalism. It is extremely dark and not for everyone. Personally, I had a lot of difficulty with some of the sections and had to take breaks from reading it. If the world building and concept had not been so unique and five stars, I am not sure what I would have rated it. But I consider that a reader issue. If triumph over really dark and grim is your jam, this book is for you.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author via Voracious Readers Only.