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The Ace of Skulls (Tale of the Ketty Jay 4) Paperback – 19 Sep 2013
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The Ketty Jay and her crew make their final stand in the stand-alone conclusion to this addictive, compelling series.
From the Inside Flap
All good things come to an end. And this is it: the last stand of the Ketty Jay and her intrepid crew.
They've been shot down, set up, double-crossed and ripped off. They've stolen priceless treasures, destroyed a ten-thousand-year-old Azryx city and sort-of-accidentally blew up the son of the Archduke. Now they've gone and started a civil war. This time, they're really in trouble.
As Vardia descends into chaos, Captain Frey is doing his best to keep his crew out of it. He's got his mind on other things, not least the fate of Trinica Dracken. But wars have a way of dragging people in, and sooner or later they're going to have to pick a side. It's a choice they'll be staking their lives on.
Cities fall and daemons rise. Old secrets are uncovered and new threats revealed.
When the smoke clears, who will be left standing?
'A fast exhilarating read' Peter F. Hamilton
'This is a wonderful book' Charlaine Harris--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
After four novels, it's time for The Tales of the Ketty Jay to bow out. The author had the choice between making the series an ongoing cycle of adventures or wrapping up the main plot to concentrate on other works, and chose the latter. Whilst this is bad news for fans of the series, it's certainly good to see a series reaching a definitive conclusion after a short, focused number of adventures.
This does cause some problems for The Ace of Skulls, however. In previous books it felt like Wooding was developing a large number of background elements, characters and factions to play a long game with. Having to wrap everything up in this fourth volume means the plot accelerator being slammed down and the concluding chapters taking on an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach. This means that a few plot elements get short shrift and are resolved in a slightly more perfunctory fashion than might be wished.
However, the most important thing in this series is the characters and their relationships, and Wooding wisely concentrates on these elements. All of the crewmembers of the Ketty Jay get their moment in the sun, whether it's Pinn's undergoing a gloriously narcissistic and insane odyssey of faith and selfishness, Crake finally resolving his family issues or Jez finally confronting her heritage in full. Secondary characters return, such as the Century Knights, and get a lot of juicy moments as well. In short, the character arcs of the series are resolved more than satisfactorily. Hell, even the ship's cat, Slag, gets his own subplot.
In terms of the story, we are again whisked across Vardia, from the capital city of Thesk to a vast, Mississippi-style delta and to exotic islands and back again. There are robberies, infiltrations of enemy bases and epic battles at snowcapped mountain villas. There are massive aerial engagements, dodgy mid-air boarding actions and, erm, fierce cat-to-mouse combat scenes deep in the bowels of aircraft. It's the sort of narrative that cries out for words such as 'romp' and 'fun'. As with its three forebears, The Ace of Skulls is a highly enjoyable action-adventure novel with some excellent characterisation. It's also resolutely not grimdark: whilst there are genuine moments of horror, ultimately the ending is positive (despite a couple of shocking, major deaths) and the series bows out on an emotional high.
The Ace of Skulls (****) is fun, well-characterised and a page-turning read. It's also trying to do a little bit too much in wrapping up a huge amount of material in a limited page space, but it manages to pull it off. And whilst Wooding does wrap most things up, there's certainly enough scope here for him to return to the world further down the line. Personally, I'd love to see a Century Knights spin-off.
Heck the majority of the male cast finally get their girl, and can wander off into the sunset with a swagger in their step. Female cast not so much, which reminds me I need to buy BBQ sauce,
Now do not take that as praise, take it as criticism of a sorts. There is no ending here to the saga of the Ketty Jay. Instead we get characters dreams realised, their hopes fulfilled, and what loose ends remain used to cast us off into another direction. This feels like Empire Strikes Back, with no definitive ending, and more of a "We'll see you next time on..." If there is another book in the Ketty Jay saga, or a spin off or some such (Pinn, Hero of the Skies anyone?) I will buy it and not be surprised.
Apart from the lack of a solid ending, where I felt all the characters got what they deserved, we got a happy ending. Call me grumpy but of I wanted a happy ending I'd be reading Harry Potter....again....don't judge me man! I was weak....
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I'm totally hooked on this set of excellent stories and the author closes the door neatly and ties up a few loose...Read more