Johnson, Jean: Hellfire (Theirs Not to Reason Why) (2013)

hellfire - larger file
Cover art by Gene Mollica
Cover design by Annette Fiore Defex
Interior text design by Laura K. Corless

I started reading Hellfire and was immediately engrossed in the world of Ia and her Damned. Annoying really when a novel is this good. I believe I actually stayed up until 3 in the morning just because I did not want to go to bed until I knew how Hellfire ended. The ending was a sort of cliff-hanger – in the sense that the story did not end with Hellfire – yet not – in the sense that Hellfire had a conclusion.

…What if you could see the future? What if you foresaw that, three hundred years from your time, your entire galaxy would be destroyed in an overwhelming invasion? What would you do to stop it, when it would all happen long after you were dead and gone? (Jean Johnson)

Me? I don’t know if I would care enough to do anything about it. But what if the experience had been as if I, myself, had experienced the extinction of life? Sad to say, I’m not a particularly noble person. I doubt I could go to the lengths that Ia does in trying to protect the future of her galaxy. I doubt I would stay sane (well, as sane as I will ever be).

Does she see her life as the sacrifice it is? Oh, yes. What she had wanted for herself was to be a singer. Instead she became a soldier on her journey to ready the different breeds of people for the future. A future she would never experience herself. Her motivation? That was what being a pre-cognitive did. Especially being one as strong as she was.

People being the way we are, means we tend to disbelieve anything we have not experienced ourselves. Which is why Ia has let various creatures across the galaxy received snippets of her visions with information on how to avoid the potential future she wishes for them to avoid. This is where Ia’s type of pre-cognition varies from the type of clairvoyance that could be more paradoxical. Ia’s type shows a potential future based on a potential number of choices. By building on her reputation, prophecy by bloody prophecy, Ia has now arrived at Hellfire.

Upon reaching Hellfire Ia has gotten far enough on her journey that she has managed to convince the human authorities of her claims of pre-cognition. All it took was being right a certain number of times and they were more or less on her side. But three hundred years is a long time for most people to keep their minds on. It is the political games here and now that seem to matter, not what some great-, great- … grandchild of ours will be going through. Keeping the military leaders’ minds on what lays ahead is a challenge Ia has to win again and again throughout Hellfire.

With her ship, she and her crew travels around the galaxy recruiting more believers and fighting a whole bunch of battles.

For those of you who like technical details, you will get those. I haven’t a clue as to how likely any of them are, but they are nevertheless interesting.

For those of you who are fans of action and thrills, there are plenty of those as well. The above battles are only part of it. Ia gets herself and her crew out of various tight situations. While we already know that she, herself, has to survive until she has amassed a certain following, we don’t know who else gets to live along with her.

For those of you who like humour, don’t worry. We get plenty of that along with the bleaker moments. Jean Johnson has managed to lighten the story with some witty dialogue.

Finally, for those of you who like romance, there is that as well.

Add to all of this the writing of Jean Johnson and we have a novel that carries its middlehood well. I am certainly looking forward to Damnation.


Review:


  • File Size: 951 KB
  • Print Length: 479 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0425256502
  • Publisher: Ace (July 30, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009RYS0PW

My review of:

  1. A Soldier’s Duty
  2. An Officer’s Duty

 

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