Nether Light by Shaun Paul Stevens – SPFBO #6 Finals Review

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God of Gnomes by Demi Harper

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Last Memoria by Rachel Emma Shaw – SPFBO #6 Finals Review

Last Memoria

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The Sons of Heaven by Kage Baker

The Sons of Heaven by Kage Baker
Book Name: The Sons of Heaven
Author: Kage Baker
Publisher(s): Tor Books
Formatt: Hardcover / Paperback / Ebook
Genre(s): Science Fiction / Time Travel
Release Date: July 10, 2007

Whew. Eight books and several hundred years later (or several hundred thousand years, depending on whether you’re counting from the Spanish Inquisition or Options Research and Back Way Back… time travel is a rather messy business to write about), here we are. 2355. The Silence. All the pieces are going to come together, and after such a build-up, it’s impossible to tell whether this book will be excellent or a letdown.

I hope it’s not too much of a spoiler to say it’s a bit of both.

First things first, though: my darlings have returned. Mendoza has become Mendoza again, and the only thing I can say about that is that it’s about time. I sorely missed the sharp-edged botanist of the first books, and it’s a relief to see that she is no longer the shadow of herself that she became. It makes her interactions with Edward far more interesting, and it made me far less squeamish about her bearing children than I was during the previous book. I was still a little uncertain of that particular plot, but only at first. It proves to be very enjoyable, the sort of thing I would read even if there weren’t a potential apocalypse looming in the background. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy a sitcom about two immortal cyborgs figuring out how to be parents?

Of course, those parts aren’t just an excuse for pastiches on baby books and a bit of laughter at Edward’s expense, though those are certainly selling points for me. The dynamic between Edward, Nicholas, and Alec changes yet again, and Kage Baker has done a masterful job at weaving all three together and showing how things can change between the three men depending on whether they have to share a body or inhabit three different ones. To no one’s surprise, that does make a difference.

And there’s more. All around the world, pieces are moving into place for the final battle, or whatever it is that might occur. No one knows what will come, but everyone wants to be prepared. Labienus and his Plague Club, Aegus and Victor, and Suleyman and his allies are all trying to keep an eye on the other players in the game and determine who will make the first move and how they can counter it. The mortals are getting involved, too. They are still the fearful, silly creatures from Sky Coyote, but now their fear and silliness are not so amusing as they were before. Perhaps mortals don’t have the same strength and capabilities as the cyborgs, but they do still have power, and their fear makes them even more dangerous. Their desperation makes them downright frightening. In between reading about Mendoza and her lovers, we are introduced to plots and counterplots, with (dare I say it?) twists and turns that kept me guessing the whole way through.

And, in what was to me one of the most exciting developments of all, Lewis is back. I had all but given him up entirely, but a princess of one of the strange people who stole him has found his insensible body and, through luck or some unknowing action, revived him. He is still in danger from the rest of her people, but in her he has something of an ally, and he clings to her as much as he can, telling her stories and enchanting her with tales of the rest of the world.

Kage Baker bounces back and forth between these three separate strands, drawing them closer and closer until they are tied together in the climax I’ve been awaiting for half the series (and not in the “just get to the end already” way, either). At times the pacing doesn’t quite work for me and one strand lags a bit behind, but each is so enjoyable to read that I didn’t much mind. I didn’t even mind that the ending wasn’t all I’d dreamed it would be. For one thing, it came very close, and I was with it up to almost the very end. For another…

Well, let’s talk about endings for a moment.

As a writer, endings are probably the hardest part of a book. You have to wrap everything up, but not too neatly, and God forbid you find that halfway through you’ve forgotten a character or a whole subplot. When you have a series go on as long as the Company novels have, it grows even harder, because the readers anticipate something amazing, and it’s hardly helped when reviewers hype up what they’re sure will be a spectacular climax.

I won’t give away exactly what happens, in part because I want to avoid any spoilers and in part because, as with all things, your mileage may vary. You may love the end of the book exactly as it is and wonder what’s wrong with me that I wanted anything more. To tell the truth, I’m honestly not sure what else I would have wanted. Since it’s easy for me to be content with the book as it is, I will.

And there we have it. Cyborgs, time travel, love, possible reincarnation, and lots of jokes at the expense of our descendants. Maybe it’s not quite fantasy, but it’s a great read nonetheless.


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