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Emerging from a gateway into a redoubt filled with preDark technology, Ryan and his band hope to unlock some of the secrets of post-nuclear America. But the fortified redoubt is under the control of a half-mad former sec man hell-bent on vengeance, who orders Ryan and the others to jump-start his private war against two local barons. Under the harsh and pitiless glare of the rad-blasted desert sun, the companions fight to see another day, whatever it brings....
Point of No Return
Out of the ashes of the conflagration that savaged mankind two centuries ago, Deathlands was born - a tortured testament to a world long gone. Yet, in this kill-or-be-killed world where justice is the way of the past and blood is law, hope is the last refuge of the doomed. For Ryan Cawdor, driven by a warrior's instinct to survive, it's a world that exacts a devil's bargain: the struggle for daily existence in return for a chance to forge a better life.
Emerging from a gateway into a redoubt filled with preDark technology, Ryan and his band hope to unlock some of the secrets of postnuclear America. But the fortified redoubt is under the control of a half-mad former sec man hell-bent on vengeance, who orders Ryan and the others to jump-start his private war against two local barons. Under the harsh and pitiless glare of the rad-blasted desert sun, the companions fight to see another day, whatever it brings....In the Deathlands, the condembed shall inherit the earth....
This book commits the unforgivabel sin of beign boring
Hellbenders wasn't odious, like Skydark Spawn, it was just... boring. It took me about three months to muddle through, and I only forced myself because I feel a certain obligation what with running the website and all. There were two points where I laughed out loud at the poor writing. There is one sentence the describes light being let into a room because the door was "partially clothed". Who knew that half-naked doors let in light? There was another, as the scouting party enters a ville, where the sentence begins and ends with exactly the same phrase. It was something along the lines of, "like a crowded gaudy house, the blah blah blah blah like a crowded gaudy house." Ugh. Mostly, though, the book was just deadly dull. I'd start reading it, and I'd be sound asleep within three pages.
Ok I guess, well I got thru it anyway.
It wasn't stunning but it wasn't a grind either. I found the battle hard to follow. A sand storm that had such poor visibility would have brought the battle to a halt and jammed up all their guns.
Didn't the attackers have anti-tank weapons. Why didn't they kick everyone's butt!
Ryan sucked on the hole in his tooth!? He got it pulled about a gadzillion books ago when he was in Russia.
Couldn't get the CD-ROM to work. Doesn't the redoubt have the most updated computers?
In the hand-to-hand practice one of the redoubts guys knocked out the teeth of another guy during practice for no good reason. Why didn't he get shot in the back later during the main battle?
I could go on but you get the point.
Don't know why I bothered
I don’t know why I’m bothering writing a review of Hellbenders since the writer couldn’t be bothered writing even a marginally interesting book.
In my opinion this was generic drek from chapter one onward, like there was a preprinted form sent out from Gold Eagle to Andy Boot. “(INSERT CHARACTER NAME HERE) looked into the canvas bag…”
The plot is about two standard stupid barons fighting over a standard stupid piece of a desert ville and fanatic named Correl who runs a rebel outfit called Hellbenders, naming themselves after a species of salamader. The fanatics are fighting the two stupid barons and they want Ryan and his people to help overthrow them in a very clumsy and boring retelling of Fistful of Dollars.
You can guess the rest-- the reader is treated to several descriptions of Ryan and his friends from different viewpoints like we didn’t get what they looked like the first two times. From some reason, a lot of the action is told after the fact not shown on the page. There is also the by now prerequiste scenes where Ryan and his people show off how bad they are to potential allies in combat trials. There’s a bit of romance between Dean and the baron’s daughter which is handled so dully that I actually forgot who she was supposed to be.
I could mention more scenes but there’s no point. There’s absolutely nothing new in any of them. If you’ve read more than 10 DL books over the years you’d know what they are—waking up sick from a mat-trans jump (“That was a bad one, lover”), exploring a redoubt, attacking a convoy of wags, and killing stupid mutie animals. Every character spouts their catch-phrases at least three times, so it’s like a Scooby-Doo cartoon, replacing “Jinkies!” with “Fireblast” or “Hot pipe”. But even the worst Scooby-Doo cartoon made me smile ocassionally.
There are a lot more problems with this book and the whole DL series than just typos. The series is not about anything that I can relate to anymore, it’s just there like a shrub. There’s no sense of adventure, no feeling the main characters are even interested in one another much less the story they’re involved in, it’s a complete flat-line on the excitement scan.
It took me two months to finish Hellbenders as opposed to the two days of Mad God’s Wrath and almost every chapter was a struggle, like fighting through mud while drugged up. It was a complete and thorough rehash, character types ands scenes mixed and matched from a dozen earlier books, ending exactly where it began.
There’s nothing remotely clever or intriguing about this book or any of the characters in it. The level of writing was clumsy and juvenile, like the writer figured the audience was mainly 9 year olds:“It was none too secure to try to sight carefully as the seats in the wags hadn’t been made with the idea of trying to fire from the sides and sight their targets carefully”.
Some of you guys may want to pretend that there’s nothing really bad about the DL series, content to whoop it up when one book out of four or five doesn’t suck sewage through a straw (the standard of quality seems to be DL doesn’t have to be good anymore it just doesn’t have to suck) and ignoring books like Hellbenders like they don’t exist. That’s whats called denial.
But yes Virginia…there are books like Hellbenders and I'm sure there's more in the pipeline and to ignore them is sending the message to GE and the writers that you’ll accept any kind of hacked out formulized crap as long it has the Deathlands logo on the cover.
This series has been suffering from hardening of the arteries for the last 3 or 4 years and now its like it has Altzheimer's too. It just stumbles around in confusion with no direction, mumbling dementedly.
Its sad and painful. If GE can't expend the resources to save it, then they can at least put it out of its--and OUR--misery!
HELLBENDERS BENT ME OUTTA SHAPE!
by One Eye Chills
The HELLBENDERS storyline would have almost been good if: A: It would have been written by the illustrious Laurence James. B: If Andy Boot would study the main characters more and develop a solid storyline.
But alas, we get almost none of that. Why did I say almost? Because I honestly feel that Andy Boot shows potential, but comes up way short of being on par with the other writers of this series.
And even they, as good as they are, need to further this series' characters and direction. But at least they write an exciting yarn, one that makes this diehard fan forget about such matters because of a strong script.
When you write drivel like this, it turns fans way off. And it makes the points stick of those other less and ex-Deathlands fans make on this website. It's total crap like this that lends Deathlands it's bad rep.
Just for a few examples, I'll show Andy Boot and readers what I mean. 1st, you have good 'ol Jak, Dean, and a couple of the Hellbender's members go out into the desert for a recce. They encounter mutie kitty cats!!
Okay, this could have been written well and exciting, but ALLEY CATS! In the desert? There were tons of them too. How did they survive with nothing to feed them? How could none of the group get seriously injured? Doc got a scratch, and nearly died due to their poisonous claws. But yet, though they swarmed over all of them, nobody else got a scratch?!
2nd: You have a barons daughter. A total slave who has been no where her whole life. She has never driven a wag in her life. And even says so. But upon her escape from her bad guy daddy baron - she all the sudden knows how to hot-wire a wag - and then drives it.
Lame as hell.
And then you have the final battle sequence. Lame and boring. And I'm an action/adventure freak! If I'm bored, then you know you're in trouble. This was the 2nd worst Deathlands ever! The worst being Salvation Road. And that was written by - guess who?
Sorry Andy Boot, but Gold Eagle needs to give you the boot. The next DL is SEPARATION, written by Boot.
That's where I separate from the series until further notice...
Unique Battle Scene...
While not outstanding, this was far from the dull I am used to in lesser DL books. This shows to me that GE has really eliminated dull filler to the point of entertaining. The battle was the best described battle scene for me. The ability of the Hellbenders to suceed was there, because of Correll. The potential for mass failure was there thanks to Correll.
The reality, and emotion usually conveyed in other DL books is lacking. However this not a burn out book for me. On the other hand it is far from a Latitude Zero, Time Nomads, or Mars Arena type of DL book.
I am giving it a rating higher than I normally would decause of the fact that while not outstanding, it remained entertaining.