Monday, October 17, 2016

the Eye of Sauron...er, Balor

Well, I finished Mark Chadbourn's Always Forever (book 3 in the Age of Misrule trilogy) today.

Kind of a mixed bag.

Without going into much detail, the ending really irritated me. I mean, I know where he was going with it, but... Plus, a bit of wikipedia will tell you how Balor was defeated the first time around, and that there's a giant pokey stick in the story tends to suggest it's going to do it again.

On the other hand, the heroic journeys of the main 5 characters are rather satisfying. We have Church and Ruth, who hop on board Mannanan Mac Lir's ship to the far lands to find the well of purity, so that Church can purge the taint of the Formorii from himself.

Veitch and Thomas the Rhymer end up questing to find Shavi, who sort of died in the last book. This involves Veitch crossing into the realm of the dead to bring Shavi back.

And Laura, whom we thought died giving birth to Balor, is still kicking, thanks to gifts from the Horned Lord. She winds up getting rescued by the Bone Inspector.


There's a heck of a lot going on, and the party is mostly split until towards the end, as the assault on London comes to a head. Most of it is breathtaking in its verbiage and scope. In particular, there's a scene midway through where Church must descend to awaken the land. His journey and eventual sacrifice in this passage is so marvelously written I was in awe of the narrative.

Death and resurrection are recurring themes throughout. It's quite a bit like reading a novel involving Rory and Amy Pond from Doctor Who, actually.

As I said, though, the ending falls kind of flat. I mean, we finally do get some of the bigger picture, but some of the foreshadowing never comes out at all. (Church gets occasional glimpses of the future and a warning from a future version of himself that never comes to pass.) When the traitor is revealed, the entire plot line that's been dangling for 2 books is resolved in a page and a half.

But, as I said, these sins can be forgiven, particularly with Church's quest to reawaken the land and Tom's vision quest that winds up in the 60's era Whisky-A-G-Go, complete with Jim Morrison.

I guess there's another series or two that follow this one, I'll find them eventually.