Thursday, August 29, 2019

End the cycle

So, after more years than I care to count, I've joined the rest of geekdom and finished Russ T. Howard's The Ultimate Helm, the final book in the SpellJammer Cloakmaster Cycle.

We again join Teldin on his voyage to meet the legendary ship, which he technically found at the end of the last volume. The ship responded by attacking his Nautiloid. Anyway, as we begin, the legend impales Cloakmaster's ship, and three survivors board the SpellJammer, joining the human population living on the back of the Manta Ray.

And promptly get attacked by every non human population living on the SpellJammer, all of whom have heard the legend of the Dark Times heralded by the arrival of the Cloakmaster.

So, basically, the entire ship goes to war, all the different fleets come join the war, and eventually, after being reunited with Estriss the Illithid and Cwlanas, the elf maid from book 1, and a psionic projection of the kender Gaye, we finally find the final secrets of the SpellJammer.

(As a side note, given that pretty much the gnomes of Krynn are about the only ones who know anything about SpellJamming in general, one is hard pressed not to imagine the Silvanesti, models of elven grace and xenophobia, watching people get kidnapped by aliens, and not wonder how that went over. Redneck elves.)

While this is a satisfying conclusion to the series as a whole, the war for the SpellJammer and the various factions vying for control really isn't that well fleshed out. One never gets a sense of the intrigue floating aboard the ship. And frankly, the serious contenders for taking out Teldin are almost cartoonish in their villainy. Unlike book 1 which took a turn for the very dark during the Neogi torture scene, this one has the villains doing the equivalent of tying the helpless maiden to the train tracks while twirling a moustache.

So, honestly, while the finale is actually really good, the build up to everything is rushed and silly. But I'm happy I read it anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment