With the successful closure of the Hell Gate in Paris, Jason McCreary decides to take his team on an expedition around the world to close the remaining four portals. After recruiting new members and preparing the remaining antimatter devices, the set off to their first destination: Russia.
The journey takes Jason’s team through the barren wasteland that was once Europe. They meet allies who are anxious to help in their quest, including an unexpected friend from the past. They also encounter Hell Spawn more ferocious than anything dealt with before.
The prospect for success seems promising until Jason encounters an unexpected situation that jeopardizes the completion of his plan. Will he be able to overcome the crisis, or will his quest close the Hell Gates end prematurely?
Hell Gate Book 2: Wasteland in Red Square is an example of a book in a series where the sequel is actually better than the first book. It’s a strange phenomenon, but the continued character development for Book 2 was exemplary. Not to mention, there are twists and turns that take place in Book 2 that take a military style adventure novel and turn it into a fantastical quest. No longer bound by the zombie-apocalypse-feel, this series has taken a turn for suspense and a story of pursuing hope instead of a story line where the readers are taking bets on who will die next. During Book 1, I felt a lot like I was watching The Walking Dead. It was kind of like a gruesome yet awesome train wreck. It was intriguing, hard to look away, hard to watch because the characters you were growing to love were running headlong for their doom. Because of this, I was going to find it fairly difficult to make a commitment to reading the entire series. I’m a reader who likes to love the characters. In Book 2 the story has opened up into allowing the reader to root for the characters instead of watching a horror story unfold. All of this is accomplished without sparing the gruesome nature of the apocalypse or the gore in which Matthews seems to specialize. The political play in this book really brings about a global, peripheral view of the opening of the Hell Gate. Josh Matthews took an approach to Book 2 that reminded me of most great video games in a major way. When the characters finally complete their quest, they find out that they’re actually only halfway there. The surprises in this sequel are nothing short of phenomenal. To be honest, after Book 1, I needed a really good “why” to commit to this series. Book 1 left me feeling a little empty, but Book 2 delivered on everything.