Monday, May 6, 2013

Book of review: "God of Clocks" by Alan Campbell

This weekend I finished "God of Clocks" by Allan Campbell, the last book in his "Deepgate Codex" trilogy. I really liked his first book, "Scar Night" and found it very gritty and full of epic action. The second one, "Iron Angel" took the series to an unexpected expansion, making it very different from the first one, but I liked it very much also. So I had some expectation from this last one.

In last book, things weren't going were well for our main heroes (although this is maybe a wrong word). Even though they managed to save Dill from Hell's King Menoa, Menoa had used them to deliver twelve unstoppable arconites to the world of living. To thwart him, they devise a desperate plan: former Spine assassin Rachel Heal, thaumaturgist Mina Green, god places in glass body Hasp will lead arconite Dill to the God of Time Sabor, where they will attack the Heaven in hope that this will anger Ayen, mother of all creation, enough that she will destroy all arconites. At the same time, the god Cospinol and his servant John Archer, with former Mesmerist Alice Harper serving as they guide, will try to make a distraction and attack Menoa's stronghold in Hell...

At first, I had some trouble adapting to "God of Clocks" because I forgot a lot what happened at the end of its prequel, "Iron Angel". But I overcome this fast, especially because this book feel almost like a continuation of the last part of "Iron Angel": the Pandermia, the Mesmerists, Hell, arconites, war between gods... Of course, it is hard to add new elements in last book of series, but after a tremendous change between "Scar Night" and its sequel, I expected some surprise.

There are two big flaws in this book in my opinion. First is the constant action. From the page one till the end, you don't get any rest. It's action, action, action. I know that this sound strange, because action equals interesting. But you don't get any time to absorb what is happening and you are just constantly jumping from one scene to another, without really getting an attachment to plot and characters. It all leaves you tired from reading.

I admit that plot is interesting and really unpredictable, but here is the second, more important flaw: the ending. This book looks like Campbell wrote half of it and then decided that he doesn't feel like writing it any more. But since he was obligate to finish it, he wrote up the plot-line that gives ending, rearanged chapter and left everything else at cliffhanger. Sure, book had an ending, even a satisfactory one, but there is just too much question left unanswered. Too much...

Campbell's characters in last two books were superb. Here they retain most of their quality, the old ones. Several new characters are good, although not exceptional. But again, the abrupt ending leaves both heir history and future unresolved and unfinished. The bright point was reappearance of Carnival as a character, but even though she got some pages, they can be compressed to few words: anger, violence, unbending. This would be all right I she got some resolution at the end, but that nonsensical two pages just don't cut it.

All in all, "God of Clocks" was a big disappointment for me. It had a big potential, with really unique setting, great characters and very gritty and dark atmosphere. But sudden ending ruined the experience for me. Not sure if I would recommend this book even the fans of the series.

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