The Schmoops just kicked my ass in a game so I thought I’d do some sulking. Sulking is made for multitasking so I thought I’d review this book.

Since I find it difficult to write anything about the content of a book without including spoilers, here is my summary of this book:

Father, son, rite, throne. Undead wife.

If you have the same taste in reading material that I do, or can read my mind, you might be thinking to yourself, “Wait. Wait, this is… WTF? American Gods?” In truth, the two books share many elements, but Last Call predates the other by nine years. As I sit here I struggle with two conflicting emotions: reverence for Mr. Powers for his fantastic work The Anubis Gates and, because of that, a reluctance to admit that I like American Gods better… In turn checked by the fact that I am crazy about Mr. Gaiman’s work as well. Not that this isn’t a great book in its own right, but the eerie parallels rendered me unable to resist a comparison.

I enjoy books that feature a parallel reality coexisting alongside our own mundane world, with its own hierarchies, societies and cultures. Last Call does it well, and does a good job of showing the protagonist’s transformation from a non-believer to accepting his role in the mythos. However, the thing that made the book for me was the support cast. Every character has a history, a mission, and an ending. My favorite was Ozzie, the humorous savvy gent with the big heart who adopts and protects lost children. Who tries to educate his wards in the ways of the hidden world and is dismissed as superstitious by unbelieving kids, but never stops trying. Then there’s Mavranos, the blue collar worker turned eccentric scholar who quotes T.S. Eliot and talks about Mandelbrot equations. The main character doesn’t exhibit nearly as much color, but that conforms to his status for most of the novel as a pawn who’s kind of pulled along.

This book uses poetry extremely effectively as a means of conveying the deeper meanings in what otherwise would be everyday occurrences, since the main character Scott, not having taken Ozzie’s teachings to heart earlier in life, struggles to comprehend the impact of the events he is living. The way that Mr. Powers incorporates literature into this work is frankly amazing, and makes for a richer story. Another trait of his tales (that appeals to me in particular) is the cleverness of the resolution, the deft irony that ends with the good guys winning. Everything dovetails into place, there is no need for deus ex machina to ruin an otherwise perfectly good novel. As I understand it this is the first book of a loose trilogy, and I look forward to reading the other two books of The Fisher King.

 

Verdict: A great book, but not a Great Book.