Hell Bent (Redneck Apocalypse Book 2) by eden Hudson. Okay, a real quick note here: I didn’t plan on reviewing this until later—I have other books I’m supposed to be reading—but I just couldn’t stay away. I’m a binge reader, so I just had to read Hell Bent.
Halo—a quaint, rural Missouri town—is an absolutely great place to be … unless, of course, you’re a human.
For the fallen angels, vampires, werebeasts, and a whole slew of other walking horrors, Halo has become a sort of sanctuary, a preserve where the nightmares reign supreme with little interference from the larger American government. Life isn’t so great for humans, though, who fall somewhere between being second-class citizens and straight up chattel: pimped out, bled dry, and forced to slave away for their non-people (NP) protectors or suffer terrible consequences.
And the only people who might be able to save the day? The Whitney family … well, what remains of the Whitney family. Colt and Tough, a couple of alcoholic, redneck brothers with a family history as dark as they come. If these two boys are God’s chosen warriors, then it might just be time for humanity to bow out of the fight.
The MC: So Hell Bent—the awesome follow up to Halo Bound—is split between four primary POVs this go ’round: Colt, Tough, Desty (short for Modesty), and Tiffany (a world-weary vampire, who doubles as a baker and a rabid X-Files fan).
Halo Bound was focused primarily on Tough—a wild, rock ‘n roll kid with a bad past and an even worse future in store for him—and Desty, the awkward teenager on a mission to find and rescue her twin sister, Tempie. The first book does a lot of world building and revolves around Tough and Desty as they make their way through the world of Halo and discover a budding, yet tragic, relationship together.
Book two, Hell Bent, shifts away from Tough and Desty (though they are still present) and instead gives us a more detailed glimpse into the lives, and minds, of Colt—Toughs older brother and the “Chosen Warrior of God”—and his, well … girlfriend, might not be the right word … but something along those lines, Tiffany. The relationship that unfolds between these two is as touching as it is heartbreaking—a dark and painful connection between two troubled, social misfits.
The World: I loved being back in Halo. This world is well developed and highly unique, though quite deranged in many ways. In Halo, fallen angels, werebeasts, vampires, sirens, zombies, and all other manner of freaky-deaky things exist, and they exist right out in the open, thanks to the unceasing efforts of Halo’s Mayor, Kathan Dark. Things didn’t always used to be that way, but after the Whitney family discovered the existence of these dark creatures and started waging a holy war against the fallen angels, the situation drastically shifted. Now, non-people run the show and human beings are relegated to doing what they’re told. Each human is assigned to a NP, who in turn serves as their protector in exchange for certain benefits, like blood, or manual labor, or sex. All and all, it’s a pretty disturbing vision.
The Story and Writing: This book was just as dark and disturbing as the first one—maybe more so—with the same heavy elements that made me squirm in my seat the first time. There is sex and sadism, slavery and brokenness, rape, violence, death, insanity, and horrific murder. There is so much brokenness in the lives of these character that, at times, it feels like a hopeless cause; you want these character to succeed, you want to root for them, and you want them to win the day. And you know, deep down, that they probably won’t. That redemption might not be in the cards, that the bad guys might, in fact, triumph, and that only bad choices and even worse consequences are possible.
It’s dark, heavy, and grim. But, with that all said, I enjoyed this book even more than the first. Since much of the world building was established in the first book, this book had a more plot-focused narrative, which I enjoyed. There is also a wonderful subversion of the typical “Chosen One Prophecy,” which really caught me off guard, and let’s not forget the writing … I am continually blown away by eden Hudson’s writing. Her narrative voice is spectacular—evocative, polished, and just plain knock-your-socks-off good. If you aren’t afraid of the dark, this is one helluva good read.
The Rating: For me, 5 stars. Buy it here: www.Amazon.com/dp/B00YFVLRFM