In the third book of The Red Queen’s War series, Mark Lawrence starts us off with a neat recap of the characters and storyline thus far. But for goodness sake, don’t start here, go back and read the first two books if you haven’t done so already. As a matter of fact, with the references to Jorg Ancrath made in this book I am thinking it might have been better had I read Mark Lawrence’s other trilogy, the Broken Empire series first.
Regardless of where I started, I was absolutely hankering to continue on with the adventures of the incorrigible self-described coward, Jalan Kendeth.
As we rejoin Jalan he is traipsing through the desert after having escaped from Hell. He tells us of his time in Hell in reoccurring flashbacks. What has become of Snorri? We are not yet certain but in time it shall be revealed. I thoroughly enjoyed it as Jalan described his journeys through the desert and by sea. As with most things he does, he tells us of his travels with a humorous cynicism. We don’t get the potentially long and boring travel descriptions of some books. Travelling through Jalan's eyes, these journeys become vastly entertaining.
“The desert is hot and boring. I’m sorry, but that’s pretty much all there is to it. It’s also sandy, but rocks are essentially dull things and breaking them up into really small pieces doesn’t improve matters. Some people will tell you how the desert changes character day by day, how the wind sculpts it endlessly in vast and empty spaces not meant for man. They’ll wax lyrical about the grain and shade of the sand, the majesty of bare rock rising mountainous, carved by the sand-laden breeze into exotic shapes that speak of water and flow . . . but for me sandy, hot, and boring covers it all.”
As usual Jalan is in the thick of it. He’s still not too keen on responsibility of any type and he certainly doesn’t understand how he keeps getting in the positions he gets himself into. He longs to be back home playing the rich playboy grandson of the Red Queen. But alas, you can’t turn back time! Jalan’s grandmother the Red Queen has taken an army to confront the Lady Blue. The girl he longed to marry has married his best friend. As for Jalan, he is still running from Maeres Allus, wanted by the banking world and on the run from those who seek what he now holds, Loki’s Key. Oh yeah, there’s also still a little matter of revenge on Edris Dean for his role in killing Jalan’s mother and his unborn sister. Speaking of the unborn sis, well you know…the “unborn” have been something of a problem for Jalan. With no certain escape from all of the dangers that chase him, Jalan knows that he is bound by circumstance to proceed on his journey. It soon becomes apparent that he will need to head toward the Wheel of Osheim to avert certain disaster. Am I for one minute worried that the fate of the world is in Jalan’s hands? Not on your life!
This final book in the trilogy is supreme entertainment from page one! You will come to love the well wrought characters. It’s full of “I didn’t see that coming” surprises, genuine chuckles and ever-present danger around every corner. I will leave you with one final thought before you get started reading:
“When someone lets you off too easily there’s always that suspicion that they know something you do not. It’s an irritating thing, like sunburn, but I know a sure-fire way to ease it. “Let’s get a drink!”