Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

Incarnations of Imortality

Having recently read the eighth book in this series I thought I’d make a few comments on the varying quality of these books.

“On A Pale Horse” : Probably the best book in the series in part because you still don’t know what to expect as you progress through the book. This book is well worth reading even if you are not going to read the rest of the books. Once you do read the rest of the books then this book suffers slightly in that there are a few slight changes between this book and the ones that follow.

“Bearing an Hour Glass” : Probably the worst book in the series because of the three periods in the middle of the book where the main character participates in staged plays that are intended to distract him from his job. This book also introduces the concept of Chronos travelling backwards through ti as his normal direction of travel – the several encounters that Thanatos has with Chronos in the first book imply that Chronos travels forward the same as everyone else. Apart from the three timewaster chapters the book isn’t too bad especially once you read enough of the following books to see how it ties into the rest of the story.

“With A Tangled Skein” : With the second book being set in the future of the first, this third book is set in its past. This is probably the second best book in the series and forms the first part of a section of the story that directly continues through the next two books with only minor flashbacks. By the end of this book you get a reasonable idea of what the whole series is about. This book also introduces the concept that fate has three aspects whereas fate was not so described in the first two books (although unlike with the previously mentioned premise change there is nothing in the earlier books to contradict this).

“Wielding A Red Sword” : This book almost directly continues on from the preceding book but with a change of main character. Not quite as good as the third book but the sequence where Mars is distracted by being sent to hell is far superior to the way Chronos was distracted in the second book. In this instance the main story line is advanced during the distraction.

“Being A Green Mother” : overlaps the prior two books just enough to allow it to stand alone. By this point the way in which each new incumbent to the office is tested by Satan is becoming a bit predictable at least as to the outcome. There is a rather interesting twist in this book so that the end result isn’t quite what you’d expect from the prior books although since it is still set earlier in time than the second book the twist does present a few new questions. The biggest disappointment with this book is that the prior books appear to be leading to this book being the climax of the main thread of the series whereas this book hardly references that. Presumably the decision to expand the series from five to seven books was made well before writing of this book commenced.

“For Love of Evil” : This book comes very close to taking the number two spot away from the third book. It starts much earlier in time than any of the preceding books but covers a longer time period and so ends later than the preceding book. It provides a very different but complementary viewpoint to that given by the preceding books and explains many of the things left unexplained in the earlier books. It does however completely change the reason why Satan opposes Luna to something entirely different to the reason given in the first book.

“And Eternity” : a rather disappointing conclusion to the original series that is set just after the second book. While it does present a conclusion based on the changed premise introduced in the sixth book it also introduces many unanswered questions as well as a new incarnation not mentioned in the prior books.

“Under A Velvet Cloak” : tries really hard to claim the worst book in the series title off of book two. The main part of the story introduces a lot of sex scenes which is something that was not a part of this particular series prior to this book. Also introduced in this story are parallel universes and yet another incarnation that is identified only at the end to explain the conclusion. About the only thing this book adds to the overall series is to answer some of the questions asked in the seventh book.

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