This is the third in a fantasy series whose earlier titles have earned some praise from reviewers, attracted a loyal young fan base, and are now rumoured to have a film in production. Hill knows how to keep the battlewagons rolling, so this one may satisfy the fans; but the earlier books have shown that, while pouring on the gore and piling up the bodies, he can also be subtle, inventive and funny. Here, it’s just one battle after another. Queen Thirrin and her mage husband Oskan are threatened not only in the ‘physical realms’ by a sadistic warrior queen whose fortunes have risen in the collapse of the Polypontian Empire, the Icemark’s defeated enemy from the earlier books, but also by an axis of evil in the ‘spiritual realms’: an alliance of Oskan’s dad, Cronus, and Oskan’s daughter Medea. So epic carnage on two fronts, with beings (sometimes not exactly bodies) being rent, chopped, crushed, burnt to a stump or exploded into aeons – and, often, unlike Humpty, being put back together to do it all again. When not engaged in battle, some of the cast of weird allies, like the gluttonous and boozy Werewolf King Grishmark, a shoe-in for Brian Blessed, however substantial on the page, begin to look thin as they parade before the reader, having had to march on rations of a single character trait for far too long. Amid the mayhem, there is little quiet space to get to know new faces, although there is some awkward comedy as a Polypontian captain woos Cressida, Oskan’s punctilious daughter. It all ends properly with the good guys triumphing and all of the bad and some of the good lying down and not getting up again. Peace at last – although that may bring its own problems: at the least, a lot of characters hanging about on street corners looking for the next fight; and, almost certainly, an outbreak of obesity and drunkenness among the werewolf population.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2008-11-01 14:00:072023-01-01 14:01:54Last Battle of the Icemark