Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Darkest Hour & Dead Beat

Continuing with my weekly reviews of Mark Chadbourn’s Age of Misrule trilogy is my review of Darkest Hour, which continues the story of the returning gods and creatures of Celtic Myth:
With the characters and impetus of the series established in World’s End, Chadbourn can focus on the details here. However, he doesn’t do that at the expense of moving things forward and just settling things into a typical middle book. We get to know the characters better and see them interact. The world change isn’t as much of a surprise at this point in the storyline and the characters bloom into distinct individuals. Furthermore, they each come into their own as modern avatars of their mystical ancestors – Vietch as the dangerous warrior, Church the reluctant leader, Shavi the mystic, Ruth the Triple Goddess, and Laura…Laura’s role is somewhat ambiguous through most of this novel.
Although Chadbourn does delve deeper into the characters in this novel, he doesn’t do so at the expense of the mythic travelogue he’s been undertaking in this series. Each landmark along these character’s journeys is steeped in real world history and Chadbourn mines much of that for great mythic effect in the novel and trilogy’s storyline as a whole.

I also just finished up Dead Beat, the seventh novel in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. I really, really enjoy these novels and this might be the best one I’ve read yet. Butcher threw in zombies, polka, Oktoberfest, the Wild Hunt, fallen angels, the Erlking, as well as the usual vampires and wizards. The ending was probably one of the most adrenaline inducing of any of the books in the series and I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion over the course of the novel. The character of Waldo Butters, I can guess, is probably named partially after Leopold “Butters” Stoch from South Park. With each book, Jim Butcher climbs up my ladder of favorite writers and The Dresden Files climbs up my favorite series list.

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