Saturday, May 1, 2010

Book Review: Beyond the Wall of Time by Russell Kirkpatrick

Russell Kirkpatrick really pulled out something special with the first Husk book but lost a bit of steam in the second. I was hoping he could recapture that initial momentum and was curious how the third book, Beyond the Wall of Time would turn out.

The group, made up of three smaller groups each drawn from a different continent, has barely survived an encounter with the Son, one of three gods, and only because of the Most High’s interference. The father cannot risk aiding the travelers again against his two wayward children once they leave the house of the gods or risk destroying creation itself. The son and daughter use that to their advantage to reek havoc on an unsuspecting world, hoping to cause enough death and destruction to break the wall of time and make their escape into the world. Lenares believes she has the power to stop them but needs to unite her companions, many of whom have their own agendas. Meanwhile Husk still lurks in the shadows hoping to lure Stella and the undying man back to Adratan and take a vengeance denied to him for nearly seven decades.

Initially I felt that the pace of this novel was a bit too relentless. The travelers are hit with life threatening event after life threatening event and it’s hard to take it all in. I was a bit worried that the author was trying to jam pack everything into one book that might have needed two. About a third of the way into the book the pace settled into a better rhythm. I had hoped that in the final book Husk would have taken center stage and was a bit disappointed that his story was superseded by the clash with the Gods and he seemingly became nothing more than a tool in that struggle. Kirkpatrick seems to believe that his strength as a writer is world building but I believe he is just as good if not better at creating morally complex characters that show genuine growth and change throughout a series and that was definitely the highlight of this novel. Most noteworthy was Stella and I really enjoyed seeing her finally come to grips with the person she really is.

Overall I did enjoy this novel but never felt it delivered on the promise of the first one. I Found the same thing in Kirkpatrick’s first trilogy but he is definitely showing some real progress and I can’t wait to see where he goes from here. 7/10.

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