Most helpful positive review
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Good, but just not as brilliant as some of his other books
on 27 May 2007
I'm a big Simon R Green fan. His books are wildly entertaining, funny, while still being pretty dark in places.
I have been looking forward to this new series and I enjoyed the book, but it didn't blow me away.
The book tells the story of Eddie Drood aka Shaman Bond. A highly effective, if slightly rebellious, field agent for the humanity's secret protectors, the Drood family. The plot follows Eddie as he discovers that his family aren't what he thought they were and he uncovers some pretty shocking secrets.
Anyone who has read other books by Green will spot the obvious problem with the plot - i.e. been there (sort of) before. Eddie Drood is a likeable character, but he's not Owen Deathstalker. It's partly the setting, Eddie's world maybe magical, but it's just an expanded version of today's world, which doesn't give him the epic (madly overblown) scope of Owen's universe. And the bad guys don't really cut it in comparison.
Now that's all pretty negative, but I've still given the book four stars and that's because on its own terms it's a well written, pacey, inventive adventure. The opening scenes of Eddie doing his job do work well and feel fresh. Eddie is a likeable character and the book is written from his first person perspective. There are some great minor characters like the Armourer, and Molly is a great female lead in the grand tradition of Green's romantic heroines to match his heroes. More will come out about Molly's surprising command of hellfire and about the deaths of both her parents and Eddie's, I've no doubt.
And that's probably another good reason to give the book, and the series a go, Green likes to build up his characters and the worlds they inhabit through the books. There'll be lots more depth and complexity to come.
The action is pretty much non stop - there are several great chase squences, along the motorway and on a motorbike through London.
Eddie's winnowing progress through his family's greatest enemies trying to find the truth at the start of the book, didn't really work for me. It seemed like a slightly chaotic series of good ideas that didn't quite string together, while being individually interesting.
If you're a fan of the author, it's definately worth reading - just don't expect anything earthshatteringly different. If you've not read his stuff before, you will enjoy it as the ideas will all seem fresher. (I'd recommend the Deathstalker series ahead of it, but those books are pretty twisted in places, so if you prefer things a bit lighter, this may be the way to go...)
I'll be reading the next one, and hoping that Eddie is focused back on the task of being a field agent because that's where most of the unique and best moments of the Man with the Golden Torc were. I'll also be hoping for a few more of the highly amusing, sarcastic dialogue that is one of my favourite features of Green's books.