Age of Misrule – Mark Chadbourn

I have this version – Omnibus Edition – which contains all three books of the series. But it doesn’t make it clear anywhere on the cover that this is a series of books. I only realised when I got a third of the way through and got a title page saying “book 2”. So I was reading this as one stupidly enormous narrative, rather than three books… and that may have affected my opinions rather.

Basically, while the story was pretty good, in a not-particularly-inventive sort of way, it felt like there were three separate narratives stuck end to end… which does make sense once I realised it was a series (shush, yes I’m a numpty, oh well). But even so, series can be made to feel more like one over-arching narrative than this manages. Minor spoilers, the general plot goes: “oh crap, a thing is happening… let’s fix the thing! DRAMA! ACTION! Climax with fixing of things and unexpected downside” and then repeat. Which I guess is what serieses do… but it feels too stuck together, rather than a nice, coherent whole. It is also enormous, so the stuck-togetherness feels even more tedious.

The actual plot is… meh. It’s ok, but not inspired. I was never horrifically surprised but neither was I going “yes yes, we can see what’s going to happen, get on with it”. The premise is that the Age of Reason is over and all the Celtic gods/folklore/fairies etc. are coming back and taking over again, having been absent for a few thousand years. This has… mixed results at best for humanity (dragons + motorway = problem). As fantasy novels go… yeah that’s a fantasy novel. There are some chosen people destined to do some dramatic stuff and fixing and whatnot. It’s nothing special. Fairies happen a few times. They are not always very nice.

A lot of the novel is just… a bit clunky. The characters, the writing, the way information is revealed, the backstory, the world-building, the slightly-heavy-handed-socio-political commentary… it’s not a artless novel, not a bit, but it’s really not worthy of the very nice reviews written on the front cover. Its major accomplish is being so goddamn long. Everything else is… alright. Acceptable.

Basically, it’ll do. It’s an ok novel that doesn’t do anything special, which I would probably recommend, except it’d take a month to read the blasted thing and it’s not worth your time.

So yeah, that was a wasted effort.

Next time, the fourth PC Grant book (as in the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch). I’ll probably be done by tomorrow.


About readerofelse

A student of a redundant, useless and thoroughly interesting subject and reader of many books, particularly fantasy, science fiction and plenty else besides.
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