I have nothing good to say about this book. I am much less picky than Schmoops is when it comes to whether I think a book is good or not. He will astound you with detailed analysis of all the illogicalities of the plot (that you didn’t even notice) and unresolved issues (that you didn’t think mattered), and how these things detracted from the impact of the book holistically (which you grudgingly admit is kind of true). I just stick to my impressions of whether I liked the characters, the writing style, the originality or at least the skillful execution of the plot, the good or bad or unsatisfied or fulfilled feeling I take away when I finish. Sometimes, as in the case of the Harry Potter series, I will keep reading a book just to appreciate the fruits of the author’s imagination, even if I think the story is uninteresting. I just kept hoping I’d come across something as unique and amusing as Bertie Bott’s beans, or Hagrid.

The only reason I finished this book was because, damn, I’d already read two books out of this trilogy. It’s got a lot of elements I usually like: alternate interpretations of true historical events, a uniquely thematic “magic”, gods. But the execution was awful. There is a certain level of detail a fantasy author should go into about his world, which should not be exceeded. Just like the Uncanny Valley in computer graphics, if an author delves too far into details, it becomes uninteresting to read. Everything becomes mumbo-jumbo, as it did in this novel.

So I wasn’t at all interested in the magic. I wasn’t at all interested in the characters. They spent the entire book not really figuring stuff out, just biding their time and going with the flow, allowing events to control them instead of the other way around. OK, I realize that if we only ever had stories with proactive kick-ass protagonists then there would be far fewer good stories, I get that. But listening to these people talk in circles about how they can’t do anything without possibly endangering the whole cause, so they are just going to sit in their motel room for a few more days GETS REALLY OLD.

Whenever the plot progresses it’s because they’ve thought it over extensively and have figured out another aspect of the mumbo-jumbo they didn’t think of, or didn’t understand, before. Sometimes they interpret the mumbo-jumbo incorrectly and suffer a major setback. Finally they do things right and there is a happy ending. This is all you need to know about this book. I would read the first volume of the series, Last Call, and skip the other two.

 

Verdict: Read if you like mumbo-jumbo. No judgements.