Sunday, June 26, 2011
REVIEW: The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman
Wow ... what a strange book. So I really loved The Left Hand of God ... it was one of those fantasy books that was a little more real, a little more brutal ... dark, and not in the warlock way. By the end it started smacking of sci-fi rather than fantasy. It was unpredictable in both the usual way, and in the way that I felt I had no familiarity with this kind of writing. The characters were well defined but also unpredictable (some reviewers claimed this was a weakness in the writing - that characters did not act as they should). The book ended with an unexpected twist too.
But The Last Four Things is totally different. It is as if Left Hand was about Cale and co.'s escape from The Sanctuary and trying to find a new life. It was very real, grounded and had a very specific course. It seems Four Things disregards all this and is now solely about the twist at the end of Left Hand.
The tone is now incredibly religious, with Cale, the supposed Angel of Death, fulfilling his destiny imposed by Bosco. All the relationships have changed and reversed and it is now very clear, where there wasn't even an inkling in Left Hand, that the story is set in a post apocalyptic Earth ... large plot points now focus around places like Switzerland and Spain.
I don't know how I feel about it. I enjoyed it and read it quickly, but I think I was questioning where it was going. Unlike other books, it hasn't provided an end goal, something the story or characters are working towards. This gives it it's unpredictability, but is also frustrating. I also found it weird how some key points, like the death of a character, was somehow tacked onto the end of a paragraph.
Next ... I'm returning to Earth's Children. I've started reading The Plains of Passage which is a deceptively looooonnnnggg mother. Already at page 50 there have been lengthy descriptions of foliage, which while interesting in previous books, is now getting old. I've found myself skimming and skipping which is usually a crime for me. But I have to finish the series .... hopefully it picks up soon!
Haven't bought any new books lately except The Infinity Gate, out of fear of missing out on the trade size paperback ... which I also need to get Wise Man's Fear because of. Other than that, trying to limit spending until I read a few more.