I liked the first book better than this one. Doom: Hell on Earth is the second book in this series. The book covers some of the events of Doom II but is its own story as it takes the loose story in a different direction.
There are more characters in this book; it blends in some things from alternate history books from this time and has some odd moments that don’t need to be in the book. I liked the overall idea of the book, but the attempts at character-building don’t add much to the story.
I was happy to read about some of the moments from the game. I think the authors did a great job of recreating them. After I finished the book, I had more questions about who the authors were and why they included some things in the story. Overall, I would say that it is a fun book to read.
The book starts back on Deimos with Flynn and Arlene. At first, I thought this would be told from Arlene’s perspective. However, the book jumps around between four narrators. It is very annoying, but at times it is necessary.
The two are stuck on the Deimos, which has been moved to Earth’s orbit. They’re also running out of air due to the battle they fought at the end of the last book. So, what do they do? The two devise a plan to build a spaceship to return to Earth. This plan wastes several chapters.
After three to four weeks, they’ve built a spaceship to get them back to Earth. Of course, it works, but in those four weeks, the demons/aliens have taken over the world, for the most part. There are a few pockets of resistance and these two land near one of them. Enter the Mormons.
They land near Salt Lake City and get captured by some members of the Mormon faith. The Mormons, in this book, have been preparing for a war for decades and have managed to heavily fortify the city. They have tanks, anti-air defenses, and heavy artillery. They have also constructed a vast underground bunker with factories to make more war effort materials.
Unfortunately, Flynn and Arlene don’t trust the Mormons, and the Mormons don’t trust them. They don’t share information, which leads Flynn and Arlene to alert the demons/aliens to where they are. This was done by accident, but this wouldn’t have happened if they had trusted one another.
This is where we pick up our third narrator. Albert is a Marine who happens to be Mormon. He acts as a religious counterweight to Arlene, who is an atheist. The two of them, Arlene and Albert, end up being attracted to one another. There are several theological and moral debates that they get into. It falls on Flynn to make peace between them.
The president of the Mormons gives the three of them a vague mission. They have to lower some energy shield preventing the resistance from unifying. They aren’t given many details, but we’re introduced to the fourth narrator, Jill, the fourteen-year-old super hacker.
The four of them head off on a trip to Los Angeles. Along the way, they end up jumping on a train, figuring out how to blend into the zombies, and rescuing a prisoner. This is where another character comes in. Thankfully he isn’t one of the narrators.
Ken is a former CIA analyst who has been turned into a living computer. It is very cool! I like that the authors have gone all in on the biotech the demons/aliens are using. There is a lot of this in the book, especially when it comes to the ideas on genetic engineering that are brought up. It is one of the best parts of the book!
After getting a safehouse blown up, our heroes hijack a plane. It is a bit of a wild ride at the end of this book! While hijacking the plane, they remember the energy shield and send Flynn and Arlene to find the control switch. Remember when that was the whole mission?
Flynn and Arlene land and find the control room where the switch is located. They cut the power to the shield and then devise a way to follow Jill and Albert. The story ends on a cliffhanger, with Arlene planning to escape.
Stupid/Video Game Moments
Several strange things happen in this book. Some of them could have been avoided if the characters had talked to one another or used some common sense. There are also some cool moments from the game that shows up in the book.
Flynn and Arlene alert the demons/aliens that have taken over the world to what is happening in Salt Lake City. This all happens because they’re allowed to wander around without supervision. Also, the Mormon leadership doesn’t tell them what is going on. This leads Flynn and Arlene to contact the military and cause an army of human traitors to attack the city.
All of this could have been avoided if they had been told of the danger. There was also a strange writing choice before this happened. This was one part that I thought could have been different.
Teleporters were established in the first book. Flynn and Arlene take a teleporter from Phobos to Deimos. They could have done this to get back to Earth. Instead, the authors have our heroes waste time building a spaceship. This was a ridiculous part of this book. I have no idea the authors didn’t use a teleporter instead of this.
One part that I thought was awesome was the fight between the Spider Mastermind and the Cyber Demon (Steam Demon in the book). I remembered the scene in the game and was glad to read something similar to that in this book. It also made sense in the book as it had been established that the demons/aliens would fight each other at the slightest provocation. I liked this part of the book a lot!
New Characters and Mormonism
This book gives us three new characters. Albert, Jill, and Ken join our two heroes as they try to save the world. Adding characters was a good idea because Doom II’s story isn’t all that deep. However, I wouldn’t say I like the way they were used at times.
Albert was interesting at first. He is the person who brings Flynn and Arlene to Salt Lake City after he finds them. It is revealed that he is a Marine sniper but had left the military at some unspecified time. He is mostly there for Arlene to lust over and argue about religion. His chapters are mostly forgettable.
Jill is a super hacker who lost her parents during the invasion. Someone might have abused her, but it isn’t made clear. We don’t know much about her history; she is the narrator only in one chapter. I wish she had been more developed. I look forward to seeing what her character does in the following two books.
Ken is the XIA analyst that has been turned into a living computer. He is a strange mix of human and computer that would look very interesting in a body horror movie like Tetsuo: The Iron Man or Videodrome. There isn’t much to him in this book. Jill is the one who speaks with him, as he can only communicate through text. You also have to be hooked up to him through some computer cables.
Mormonism might as well be a character in the book. With its prominence, I started to wonder about the authors. It was the same with the Marines. I kept thinking that they were either Mormon and Marines or something like that. It was interesting to read about the author’s takes on religion and how they took some things and used them to craft the story.
I don’t think these characters were used well. It seems like they are just along for the ride at times. You also get more information about them throughout the book. I wish they had been focused on a bit more. Maybe that will happen in the following two books.
Likes and Dislikes
There were a few things that I didn’t like about this book. I felt the first book was better, and this one made some odd choices. It also created scenarios that made me question the logic of other parts in the book.
First, Flynn and Arlene built a spaceship to return to Earth. We’re expected to believe they could make this from scraps in a few weeks. Then, they could take off and fly the ship back to Earth without having any training and being able to fly a plane. This comes up later in the book.
Near the end of the book, our heroes have to fly a plane to Hawaii. Unfortunately, none of them know how to fly. This is strange because they could fly the spaceship without any real problem. Don’t worry, though; Jill, the fourteen-year-old super hacker, can fly the plane that has been modified by the demons/aliens.
Albert’s constant struggle with his religion is dumb. It seems to be the only reason that he is in the book. He argues with Arlene about religion, and they debate whether they can be together. Then the two of them separate at the end of the book.
Aside from Jill, I have no idea how old these people are. I’m guessing between 25 and 30, but I could be off on that assessment. It is confusing how they seem to know so much about one thing and are utterly clueless about other things.
There is one part in the book that felt like a throwaway scene. They encounter some of the monsters from Doom II and trick them into fighting each other. Once the battle is over, a soldier appears and kills the surviving monster. They don’t know if this human is with the enemy, and they end up killing him. Once the soldier dies, our heroes look him over and then move on. It isn’t mentioned again. I hope this gets built on in the following two books because it felt like it should have been more critical than it was.
I do like how the world is described. It paints a picture of a broken world that is being changed to fit the demons/aliens needs. Everything feels like it is changing for the worse. The buildings are collapsing, the sky is changing color, and the cities are rotting. Even the zombies feel like something from a George Romero movie.
At times this book was exciting. However, it would get stupid often, and things would stop making sense. Specifically, the fluctuating intelligence of our heroes was annoying at times. The people around them also seemed to be conveniently stupid and then on top of their game. It was strange.
The monster would also be inconsistent in how they were presented. There would be flashes of them being highly intelligent and then oblivious to the world around them. This would be commented on near the end of the book, but it didn’t change much.
The one thing that this book did well was to make me want to see what was next. While I had issues with it at times, I wanted to see how they would get out of the mess they created for themselves. I think the following two books will be fun to read.