|List Page » Reviews » Details & Review »|
Everybody in this series seems pretty confused most of the time. And, the ones who've been killed can't even stay dead. So, by the time the 3rd and final installment rolls out, you've pretty much caught on to these dramatic devices. As for the characters that do remain steadfastly and bullheadishly stiff, they earn a mere shrug from the reader's mind in this over-dramatized world. Somehow, a book or two back, they seemed to warrant at least a brow furrowing or a sly smile. Similar to Jackson 's version of The Lord of the Rings, the end seems without end. Damnit, Frodo, just toss the ring into the lava. Hurry up. We've still got at least 3 more endings to sit through.
All the nagging complaints mulling in the wings come center stage for close ups: the comically-blatant use of Tolkien imagery like Balor's single eye of evil and his Sauron-inspired Tower over London, or archetypes that degenerate into stereotypes like Ryan Veitch going from the Warrior General to Wiley Coyote for a guilt-ridden demise. Relationships and feelings start sounding like sudsy dialogue from As The World Turns. From regurgitation, ruminative statements like "live or die, there's always hope" (Gollancz, IBSN 0575603224, 2002 PB edition of c.2001, p.32), "trust what your heart tells you" (p.57), or, my personal favorite, "'you have survived,' he whispered. 'You are the stronger for it'" (p.290) become stale stumbling spews to the enchantment of Otherworld discovered through Celtic lore. Everything becomes over-stated, over the top, and over-broiled.
Another problem is moving from Urban Fantasy to High Fantasy. Over half of the novel is devoted to Church and Ruth's adventures aboard Wave Sweeper, a phantasmagorical Pequod with belowdecks reaching to infinity. Other than Laura's Valley Girl-like barbed quips of London overrun with Orc-like Fomorii, and some short sidebars involving confused country villagers, there are no scenes that attest to the wonder and magic of clashing realities in conflict mesmerizing us like the Fabulous Beasts of the bookcover designs searing up the local population. We are not grounded into society's demise, nor held privy to its reactions and compensations. Instead, we finish off enmeshed in The Quest through astounding lands and rousing, breathtaking adventures like Hobbitt wannabes.
The didacticism of sacrifice, brotherhood, and love continues with the added open-mouthed stare that "there is always something more" (p.228). This is breached on a universal basis when Church discovers Mollecht is serving an even higher unknown master, yet the Biggest Boss battle never materializes, as author Chadbourn seems content to place mankind above all the introduced Gods like "stars" (p.328) and leave it at that. Paradoxically, the novel criticizes humanity's arrogance of believing it is above or in control of everything, as opposed to being a part of or cohabitating with everything's existence. A need for influence and prestige seems as essential as the power hierarchy that creates it.
As precedented by the earlier reviews, here's the list:
By the time I got to Veitch being led by a good-lookin' wormfood woman through the Grim Lands to revive his dead buddy Shavi, I was half way through this last installment, and, just like Veitch, very leery of "a wild goose chase" (p.258) into a picked-over and meaningless graveyard abandoned by any bones of substance before my materialization. Then I remembered the words of the Soul Eater, the Walpurgis:
I relaxed, exhaled a deep breath, and rode the rest of the novel out.
Just like a video game.