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After Warrior - The Thought May Disappoint...,
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This review is from: The Thousandfold Thought: The Prince of Nothing, Book Three (Hardcover)
Okay - so we all know that the first book - The Darkness That Comes Before - was a metaphorical slap in the face that woke us all up from the generic, linear fantasy of recent years. Then along came The Warrior-Prophet which, in my opinion, was a literary masterpiece. So, with this in mind, my expectation for TTT was huge. This may account for my utter disappointment with the third story, but I can't help but feel that the story is inferior to what has come before it.
All of the ingredients are there: the Holy War finally makes it to the Holy City of Shimeh, there to reclaim what the heathen have abused. Kellhus and Cnaiur come face to face with their quarry in a war of words that would boggle the mind of Einstein. And good old Achamian, much abused, jilted and misunderstood, faces his nightmares of the First Apocalypse whilst he struggles to warm the cold shoulder his beloved Esmi shows him. Mix all of these up and you should have a satisfying conclusion (or at least extension, if this turns out not to be the last book) to the story. But for me it just fell flat. Way too much proselytizing and internal conflicts that obviously make sense and add depth to the characters in the mind of Mr Bakker, but just come off as a confusing and annoying to the reader. I read and re-read paragraph after paragraph to try and get the meaning of the internal struggles of all and sundry and just ended up completely frustrated.
I'm sure the story has tension, I'm certain the Consult get what they deserve, and I'm positive the No-God gets his well deserved comeuppance, it's just that I couldn't understand most of the cryptic fits of excellence the book has to describe them.
It would be churlish to say the writing isn't as good - so I won't, but I failed to find any of the poetic flow or clever use of alliteration that was found in the second book; a few sentences shine out, but far too few.
Was it brought to a satisfactory conclusion, I hear you ask? Well no, but then I think they'll be a fourth book - scrub that - I hope they'll be a fourth book, as everything just seems to be hanging in mid air. Yes, most of the story-lines appear to be resolved, I say appear, because it's all dressed up with the cryptic conversation and explanations that just rob the story of any clarity, so mush so that I never really knew what the hell was being accomplished or resolved.
Annoyingly enough, I enjoyed the last couple of pages the most -after all the hullabaloo has died down there's an odd moment of real tension between Kellhus and Achamian that almost makes the cryptic diatribe that preceded it worth reading the book.
Maybe a second read is warranted. Here's hoping book 4 - if there is one - reclaims the certain indefinable allure that so captured me with the first two.