Monday, August 8, 2016

The Wheel of Osheim Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: Mark Lawrence
Publisher: Ace
Genre: Epic Fantasy,
Series: Red Queen's War Book Three
Pages: 515

Buy on Amazon!

Something is wrong in Osheim. A turning wheel is bringing the world closer to ultimate destruction. Traveling through hell, Snorri Ver Snagason looks to reunite with his family, while his companion Jalan Kendeth just wishes to escape hell in one piece. The world they hope to return to one day may just need both of them to save it.

After obtaining Loki's key, traveling across the Broken Empire, and finally finding an entrance into hell in The Liar's Key, the stage is set for Jalan and Snorri's final adventure in the Red Queen's War. Unpredictably, by the end of the prologue of The Wheel of Osheim, Jalen has already gotten out of hell. I'm sure a lot of people we expecting an epic fantasy journey here, but that's not what you're getting. Instead, sprinkled throughout the story are flashbacks from Snorri and Jalen's underworld vacation cruise.

This structure reminds me of what Lawrence used in King of Thorns. The one flaw of that book was that the flashback sequences made the present day sequences predictable. This time around that is not the case; a lot more subtlety is used, and this results in some of the best twists found in any of Lawrence's books. Subtlety and interspersed flashbacks into hell also make for a more challenging read. The constant jumping around is definitely something that takes getting used to, but it's well worth your patience.

Jalan has changed. All signs of good character development for sure, but that and along with the higher stakes, makes for less time of Jalan being a douche to everyone - which is something I thoroughly enjoyed reading about. That's not to say there aren't any truly memorable douche moments, especially in the early going while everything is being built up. But one of my favorite moments involves him in a "trading sequence." More importantly Jalan still feels like himself, even if he is becoming a more empathetic being.

Snorri is not with Jalan when he returns from hell, and the Viking's role is rather diminished until the latter half of the novel. There are a lot of character returns and cameos, none more prominent than Jorg's. A long one on one conversation between the two protagonists (if you're comfortable calling them that) is more than just an empty appeasement of the fanbase, but it goes quite a way for putting the finishing touches on the man that is Jalan Kendeth.

The Red Queen's War has some excellent payoff at the end. This being the most twist heavy of Lawrence's books, really plays a big role in that. As a completed trilogy I enjoyed it just as much as I did The Broken Empire, perhaps even more so.

Score: 9.2

No comments:

Post a Comment