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    HD4 Enthralled Me From Beginning To End

    HD4 Enthralled Me From Beginning To End I’m not sure whether to call this book Hell Divers IV or Wolves so I might go back and forth (and I’ll definitely throw in an HD4 for simplicity) – so please stick with me. First and foremost. Good lord was this book fantastic. It opens with an epic fight against one sea creature. And within a few minutes, they are attacked by another one. I’m a big fan of “deep sea thrillers” and Wolves took some of my favorite elements from these books and threw them into a world decimated by bombs and left to thrive and evolve on its own after humans were basically wiped off the face of it. I also wasn’t sure why NSS called it wolves until a while into the book (and I won’t ruin it for you). I literally went “ohhh” out loud when he revealed it. There are some main points that I want to cover because this book had a lot going on in it. One is that NSS is able to write an entire series without ever diving into politics. I wasn’t sure at one point of Wolves if he was going to go a little into it, but right when he could have finger-pointed and gone completely political he about-faced and threw me for a complete freaking loop. Seriously, I’m pretty good at guessing plot points and major “fake outs” but I did not see the major and massive plotline Smith wrote in HD4. It’s even harder because I can’t go into what happened that shocked me so much since it’s a pretty major spoiler, but know that for the first time in four books we have an idea of what the heck happened to cause the surface of Earth to become hell reincarnate. (This point will contain spoilers from the other three books). Another point that I wanted to dive into (ahhh get it?) is the way that Smith is able to write a character who was a loner, then wasn’t (because of Tin), then was left to die so became a loner again. He found a dog and realized he didn’t want to be alone anymore. He’s finally found by his ship and doesn’t want to go back, and then is forced to go back and forth with this all during book 4. It’s amazing to watch the back and forth growth of X and the situational-specific feelings he was able to have. It’s something you rarely get since character arcs don’t look like waves they usually look like a rainbow or a diagonal line. Hell Divers IV is one of those books that makes you feel – numerous times about a number of things. You feel for X, you feel for Miles, and for Tin. You feel for the people around him, for the people in the Hive, and for many others. Smith is able to write characters that feel real. X feels like a real person. The things that he thinks and says out loud feel real. I’ve never had characters jump off the page more than when I was reading the Hell Divers series and Wolves was no different. A few times I had to actually pause the audiobook just so that I could gather myself. One of those times was dealing with X’s dog, Miles, and I was damn near hyperventilating because of it. The final point I wanted to make is that Smith is also able to write about human experiences in such a way that even though he’s writing speculative fiction about the future – it could be re-written as a narrative of things going on today. I love that and loved Hell Divers IV: Wolves more for it. On top of all of this, throw in the master R.C. Bray’s performance and you have what could be one of my top 3 books of 2018. I know that I won’t forget this book for a long time. Bray’s performance of X specifically just seals the deal. It feels like it’s just an extension of Bray’s voice. I know if I chose to read vs listen to another HD book I would hear X’s voice as Bray. I believe I’ve mentioned this in other reviews, but easily one of the best parts of the audiobook is when Bray has to say a place name different than how we know it (Florida as “Floor-id-a” for example). In an older book, it was Miami as “my-ah-my”. In Wolves, the one that got me was Chicago as “Chick-ah-go”. I know that saying these places had to be tough for Bray and I picture him saying it as a normal American would and then realizing it and having to go re-record it at least once. If you’re looking for a new post-apocalyptic series to read, especially one that isn’t political (at all) but still has all the feeling then Hell Divers is for you. If you’ve read HD 1-3 and aren’t sure about 4, what’s wrong with you? I know that HD4 will stick with me until HD5 comes out (hopefully in 2019).

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