Author: S. Hunter Nisbet
Publisher: Badapple Press
Length: 197 Pages (Kindle)
Category: Dystopian, Alt U, Spec Fic
At a Glance: This is speculative fiction at its dismal and dystopian finest, and Saint Flaherty is firmly at the top of my list of best series of 2016.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Good intentions only go so far.
Regretting his decision to let Simon Flaherty leave Buchell without admitting his feelings, Mick Perry follows his ex-fighting student to Scioto City looking for closure.
What Mick finds is a teenager barely coping with his new life, adrift in a metropolis that pays lip service to progress while accepting bribes from all-powerful criminal syndicates.
Mick thinks he’s prepared to do anything to help Simon, but his own past is catching up, from the family that betrayed his beliefs to the war he can’t seem to stop fighting in his dreams. Not to mention the contracts he’s bent on securing with the city bosses. The right move forward has never been less clear.
When the local syndicates realize exactly who Simon’s father was, all bets are off for the future. Mick will have to choose—does he want Simon as a lover, or does he want to use the power of the Petrowski name?
Or do all roads lead to hell?
The book numbers refer to the chronological order they go in.They are intended to be read in the order presented below.Read them in chronological order at your own risk.
Books in the Saint Flaherty series
Book 1: What Boys Are Made Of
Book 2: The Mercy of Men
Book 1.5: All Roads Lead to Hell
Book 3: What About the Girls (Coming late fall 2016)
Review: I have to confess I was a little leery about how this book was going to fit into the Saint Flaherty series, but come on. The title and that cover… how could I resist? There’s a six year leap between books one and two of the series, and All Roads Lead to Hell nocks into the timeline in between; a scant six months after sixteen-year-old Simon, his sort-of-stepsister/caretaker, Erin, and Simon’s nemesis-cum-TBD, Connor Hall, escaped Buchell—the town bombed back to the dark ages in the second Civil War and then held prisoner by the devil incarnate himself. Simon’s father.
This novel being non-linear in the chronology of the series’ main books means that it fills in gaps and elucidates certain events from both What Boys Are Made Of and The Mercy of Men, which gave me some awesome “holy crap” moments and has me chomping at the bit for What About the Girls. What makes this particular installment in the Saint Flaherty series unique, however, is that a.) it’s told from a single narrator’s point of view, b.) that narrator, Mick Perry, while significant in shaping Simon into the fighter he’s become, is also a character I wouldn’t have said was a major role player until now, and c.) there’s some steamy on-page sex between them in this installment, which we haven’t seen before but which is significant to the relationship between Mick and Simon—especially as it pertains to Simon and certain scenarios in Mercy.
What I love about this novella, apart from my overall love of this series, is the way S. Hunter Nisbet is parsing out the details of this world she’s built. We get a rural dystopia in Buchell but an altogether different sort of urban decay amidst the efforts to rebuild Scioto City. The normalcy of the syndicates and their crimes juxtaposed with Mick’s brother and sister-in-law’s sort of suburban utopia of a life does nothing but layer the setting of the series and creates a schism of sociological and anthropological codes. Morals and the instinct for human survival have evolved into something that fit into this -verse as a sort of “every man for himself” paradigm that supports the grim existence most of these people live. Which, in turn, is what makes this series so fabulous.
The realities and the aftermath of the Civil War that took place years before this series opened are teased out even further in All Roads Lead to Hell, in the way families were affected—and just as in the 19th century Civil War, the way brothers were pitted against brothers on opposite sides of the cause. Post-war trauma has left Mick broken in a psychological way, unable to escape the hell of his memories, and he becomes a more dimensional character in this book—someone I alternately felt a great deal of sympathy for, while at other times he pissed me off a bit, but again, when you already know every man is out for himself, you can’t expect Mick not to strike when an opportunity rears its head.
I love this series. Love it beyond words. S. Hunter Nisbet is an outstanding storyteller and has created a world and characters unique unto themselves. This is speculative fiction at its dismal and dystopian finest, and Saint Flaherty is firmly at the top of my list of best series of 2016.
You can buy All Roads Lead to Hell here: