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5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary novel, 21 Sep 2013
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Caine's Law: The Acts of Caine: Book 4 (Kindle Edition)
Normally I start reviews with a mini-plot summary but I won't do that here, because trying to condense Caine's Law down to a paragraph without indulging in major spoilers or causing my brain to leak out of my nose is simply impossible.

What Caine's Law is, however, is the fourth and to date final book in the Acts of Caine series. Future sequels are possible but this book provides enough closure that the series can end here if necessary. It's also the second half of the previous novel, Caine Black Knife, which ended on a series of cliffhangers which Caine's Law does - eventually - resolve. It does take its sweet time doing so, however because Stover's primary focus in the rest of the book is tapping on his readers brains until they turn into confused mush.

Caine's Law takes place before, during and after Caine Black Knife. It riffs on elements from Blade of Tyshalle, and events that took place between that book and the first novel, Heroes Die. It explains exactly how some rather implausible events in earlier books really unfolded. It has time travel and alternate timelines, and uses the term 'unhappen' a lot. Events in the deep back-history of Overworld are explained. Major characters reappear, despite some of them being very dead indeed.

This is the sort of book where a very clear, action-adventure chapter (and few authors do action-adventure as well as Stover) can be followed by an interrogation sequence where both captors and captive spend most of their time debating the literary merit of To Kill a Mockingbird. Chapters featuring heavy magic use and explosive set pieces sit alongside explorations of a key thematic element involving horses and how they see the world. Caine being a smart-arse and swearing a lot is mixed up with discussions on the nature of reality, friendship and acceptance. Caine confronts the demons of his past and deals with them, sometimes maturely, sometimes by kicking them in the balls, and sometimes by making sure they never happened at all. If the Acts of Caine series wrong-foots the audience with each book being a shift in gear and almost genre, Caine's Law delights in wrong-footing them chapter by chapter.

This is a novel that is severely confusing and ultimately you have to stop trying to understand it and instead read each section (the book is broken up into episodes) on its own merits. Eventually the book's mind-shredding narrative structure coalesces into something that does make sense. In the wrong hands this would be disastrous, but Stover ensures that even when you can't see how a particular episode fits into the overall structure of the novel and the series, it's still enjoyable on its own terms. As usual his actions scenes as visceral and vivid, his characterisation is nuanced and complex and his worldbuilding is sublime. The novel is also as 'grimdark' as anything in the genre but also has a very powerful commentary on issues such as gender relations and power imbalances without every getting preachy.

Caine's Law (*****) feels like a collaboration between Richard Morgan and Christopher Priest, but with an attitude and energy that is 100% Stover. Intelligent, thought-provoking, action-packed and featuring a recursive narrative structure that borders on genius, Caine's Law is a totally different kind of fantasy novel, and confirms this series as the most criminally underread series in the genre. The novel is available now in the USA and as an ebook-only release in the UK.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Different, 21 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Caine's Law: The Acts of Caine: Book 4 (Kindle Edition)
Each of the books has a different tone. It's very difficult to use the same characters and world and make each book distinct. For that fact alone Matthew Stover deserves credit. Caine is your usual morally disreputable killer, but unlike the boring frequently seen others of this type there's something like able about him, which again is rare. I've been thoroughly pleased to have read these books and genuinely look forward to reading more by this writer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best read in a very long time, couldn't put it down, 20 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Caine's Law: The Acts of Caine: Book 4 (Kindle Edition)
I was not too sure about the Acts of Cain when I began reading them, as I am a die hard Fantasy reader & I knew from reviews there would be a sci-fi eliment to Matthew's writting, however I am so glad I persisted this has been one of the most enjoyable reads I have had in ages.
There was only one small part in Book 2 where the level of Sci-fi got a little heavy for me but it all sort of fitted into place in the end, the many qoutes and references to Philosophy & theology read a bit like a students study list, but for those who are unfamiliar with these works I suggest looking these authours up you may enjoy what you read.
This has been a fabulous meld of Sci-fi & fantasy & I would recomend it to anyone who likes these genres, you might just be as amzed as I am.
At the end of Book 4 it says "MATTHEW STOVER believes that nearly everything worth knowing about his life can be found in his books"
Wow what an amazing man!, I am honoured that he has shared his thoughts with us humble readers.
.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 8 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Caine's Law: The Acts of Caine: Book 4 (Kindle Edition)
Not a book you can read on its own as it will simply be way to confusing as the narratives like a worm hole jumps all over the place to come to a final ending
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5.0 out of 5 stars One man, two worlds, chaos on both. I loved it, 25 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Caine's Law: The Acts of Caine: Book 4 (Kindle Edition)
I loved the four books in this series. I even liked the autobiographical introspection that the author sometimes interjected to give the reader things to think about in our own political lives. Mostly I loved the heroes ability to survive and be as brutal as necessary to make that happen.
No pulled punches, no waves crashing on beaches. Caine kills the bad guys and loves the ladies. If you want escapism, which is well written and a cross between Sci Fi and Fantasy this is the series for you. . The swan song for a character that started as a duckling.
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4.0 out of 5 stars complex, thought provoking, entertainment., 19 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Caine's Law: The Acts of Caine: Book 4 (Kindle Edition)
More twisty contemplative end to an initially more direct series. Slightly indulgent and over-earnest, leavened with innovative violence and lots of fierce grins.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Justice, 8 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Caine's Law: The Acts of Caine: Book 4 (Kindle Edition)
I was recommended this series through my love of the Malazan Books of the Fallen and spending hours trawling through a forum dedicated to that world.

How happy I am they had a section for other authors.

If you have yet to read Matthew Stover`s first in the series, stop wasting time and buy it. What a fantastic roller coaster ride its been and what a great anti hero Caine is.

Brilliant.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating but confusing end to the newest saga, 24 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Caine's Law: The Acts of Caine: Book 4 (Kindle Edition)
A good story that ends in an unseen way, which may be a positive or a negative. I feel it suffers from the plot devices used to wrap it up in the same way that the second book does, also a conclusion. They aren't negative, but everything seems to work out in a very oiled way. Definitely the most love it or hate it book in the saga so far.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Corking title, 24 Jun 2013
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Caine's Law: The Acts of Caine: Book 4 (Kindle Edition)
The final part in the series for me for now and to be honest it's one that I've devoured with quite a pace. Yet for all the glee I've had at holding each title, Caine, the principle character, has been getting not only a bum deal but has been getting life with a bigger handful of crap on each outing.

Its deplorable what an author will do to a character that readers love, yet it not only works well in the book but gives the reader a semblance of control as they get to see the "hero" fight against the machine that holds not only the fate of Overworld in one hand but the minds of those within our own.

Its cleverly written, has an absolute ton of magical moments within and the reader will feel that they more than get their money's worth by tales end which when added to the authors no holds barred style of storytelling really makes you, as the viewer, feel very specially to have been allowed to be part of it. All round a cracking book and a series that has been an absolute star from the start.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The most ambitious of the Acts of Caine, 27 May 2013
This review is from: Caine's Law: The Acts of Caine: Book 4 (Kindle Edition)
Every book in the Acts of Caine has been ambitious. And each new one has advanced and changed over the prior, taken more risks, become more complex in terms of structure, story, ideas. Asked more of and paid more to the faithful reader. How to even begin with this book. It's like Schrodinger's Dark Tower, but with a payoff. This book kind of goes back to the main theme on Stover that his characters have a 'greater than fiction' quality, almost like you're reading an official biographical history; they're so alive and so real that you don't even want to critique, it would be like criticising the way history rolled out. That said, this is a book that needs an active reader, you need to bring it for book 4 of the Acts of Caine, slow down and read it like you're studying an Important work. That sounds cheesy, but for real, this is a heartbreaking, redemptive, meaningful, surprising, and utterly brilliant story. Stover knows his audience. I've never seen a writer end a series on such a wickedly complex, simultaneously trusting, triumphant and glorious way.
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