By all means, check out my reviews of book #1 and #2. This is just a quick review as I do not wish to spoil anything critical to this story or repeat my previous reviews.
The Wheel of Osheim was the only book I could have possibly read next following on from the ultimate cliffhanger at the conclusion of the previous story. So, apologies to other authors whose books I have still to review but I simply had to find out what events would follow the prior outing and also, to see how The Red Queen’s war against a mirror floating mage lady concluded. In addition, to review how the two ladies movements of the pieces on the world’s chess game would lead to a culmination and how the developments would affect The Broken Empire.
I was suprised by how The Wheel Of Osheim threw us into the action and the way it started. I expected to find our companions traipsing through the netherworlds. Instead, we are reintroduced back into the mind of Jalan in his world as he falls out of a desert’s sky being pursued viciously by a succubus. His self-centered self-interest, his immense luck, and his personally misunderstood bravery lead him through this dilemma and he finds himself trekking across these heated wastelands with an entourage of important occupiers of the local city. This left me slightly confused. What happened in Hell? Where is Snorri?
This leads to the narrative being split into two distinct proportions. The modern day Jalan adventures and also after about ten percent into the book we begin to taste the precisely placed flashback sections that carry on throughout the majority of the tale, into the adventures that took place in Hel/Hell. The pacing and placements between the two sections are exquisite and although I was surprised by the way the story commenced, it works wonders in fitting the puzzle together as both of the storylines progress. The flashbacks themselves are told in two different ways. The scenes in Hell are despondent and thrilling. These segments had an Epic feel to them as the characters traversed through unspeakable horrors in the barren inexistence as Aeneas and Odysseus had walked through similarly composed chaos in their times. The history researched by Mark in creating this world including religions, mythology, military factions etc… needs to be acknowledged and appreciated.
The current day happenings see Jalan sharing drinks with some dude named Jorg, Jalan acting as a Marshall for the Red Queen during an intense siege scene and in addition, highlights certain confrontations that are computer game boss battle-esque. The highly intricate action sequences made me feel like I was playing The Legend of Zelda because I could picture the action, environment, and the involved characters pending difficulties so clearly. Some of the composed battles are huge and certain revelations/ plot progression made it so I couldn’t take my eyes from the pages. At the start, with how #3 began, for some reason, I thought this tale would be quite linear but I couldn’t have been more wrong. A huge amount of the World’s map is covered again and such a great amount of action takes place that I could probably write a 5000-word review albiet, this would include spoilers, notes about emotions and characters destinies/outcomes. I could have extended what I have written here, however; because I don’t want to reveal the direction the story takes, which of the players are involved, which enemies cross paths, what the results of characters ultimate goals are or what happens to this world that is, unfortunately; speeding out of control due to the magic being used. There is a larger science fiction influence in this segment of the trilogy, with the destruction of the world looming due to the mechanics of the empire. Although I would love to “fan-boy” it (is that a thing?) and talk about what characters turn up here, I don’t want to, because that is where a lot of my enjoyment came from so I don’t want to take that experience away from others. I thought that all the threads tied themselves up nicely. I loved reading this trilogy and believe a TV series combining the actions of The Red Queen’s War and The Broken Empire which could run concurrently would be exceptional. The mind in these books is perhaps the most powerful, but also, the most dangerous weapon. Mark’s work is excellent. The Game of Thrones comparisons are there due to both being complex, character-driven narratives within a Medieval-like fantasy world but I prefer this trilogy to A Song of Ice and Fire, and it is concluded! Absolutely stunning book and series.