Deathstalker Return (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Hardcover – 20 May 2004
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Have fun with this one. ("Booklist") Genuinely witty...a lot of fun. (Scifi.com) Fans of the Star Wars and Star Trek novels are going to love Green's epic science fiction series. ("Midwest Book Review") --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The Deathstalker epic continues . . .See all Product description
Top customer reviews
All this goes on with the usual Simon Green humour. I've never read any books in which you're having such fun reading about the heroes facing impossible odds and living to tell the tale. When the pace lets up for you to catch your breath, it picks up again and drags you along by the scruff of your neck, driving you towards the end. And as for the ending... there's a very nice twist at the very end. You'll be begging for more. I can't wait for the next one.
Owen Deathstalker's story was told over the course of five incredibly exciting novels. Deathstalker Legacy took up the story two hundred years later, introducing us to a new Deathstalker in Lewis, a noble Paragon who was named King Douglas' Champion and then branded a traitor when he ran off with the king's intended bride Jesamine Flowers. Outlawed just like his famous predecessor, Lewis eventually teamed up with a most unusual team of individuals and set off to find - he hoped - the blessed Owen Deathstalker. The new gang of heroes does not even begin to compare with the legendary heroes of the past. Lewis is yet to prove himself a true Deathstalker in my eyes; his great love Jesamine Flowers is a spoiled and shallow diva who goes on and on about the comforts she has given up for her love of Lewis; Brett Random, who claims to be descended from both Jack Random and Ruby Journey (although no one believes it but him) is an insult to the very name of Random, a sniveling con man and complainer who deals with every danger by running away from it; Rose Constantine is a bloodthirsty killer from the Arenas who keeps trying to be human - usually failing miserably at it; and Saturday is a giant reptiloid alien who comes along just to kill as many people as possible.
Then there's the traitorous, power-hungry villain, Finn Durandal. Empress Lionstone was a worthy opponent, the kind of evil dictator you could at least respect for her calculating inhumanity. Durandal is just a closet sociopath who betrayed everything he used to be as a noble Paragon in order to scheme his way to power, triggered mainly by the jealousy he felt when Lewis Deathstalker was chosen over him as King Douglas' Champion. Durandal is a great schemer, a far-thinking man who manages to exploit both friends and enemies for his own purposes, but he's really just an extremely petty man whose path to power is just ridiculously easy given all of the infamous deeds he goes about doing.
Deathstalker Return is in some ways a return trip down memory lane. Lewis Deathstalker and his ill-sorted allies retrace much of the path followed by the legendary Owen himself, stopping off on Lachrymose Christi and Shandrakor before proceeding to Haden, the home of the Madness Maze which gave Owen Deathstalker and his companions the superhuman powers that helped them become the venerated saviors of humanity. The trip to Haden isn't always that enjoyable; the constant bickering back and forth between our new heroes falls far short of recapturing the sort of give and take that made earlier Deathstalker novels so entertaining. Everything that worked so well for Simon R. Green in the past really rings hollow now. Green seemingly needs Owen Deathstalker to return just as badly as the crumbling Empire does - in Owen mode, Green's story immediately transforms itself into the captivating space opera that made me such a huge Deathstalker fan to begin with.
One thing Green never fails to deliver is a litany of shocking surprises. You have to wait a little longer than usual this time around, but Deathstalker Return has a host of monkey wrenches to throw into the inner workings of the ongoing Deathstalker saga, including a final revelation that will have fans waiting with baited breath for the next installment in this incredible series.
You don't necessarily need to read the first five volumes of the life and times of Owen Deathstalker (Deathstalker, Deathstalker Rebellion, Deathstalker War, Deathstalker Honor, and Deathstalker Destiny) in order to enjoy this novel (although you will miss out on a lot without the background those novels provide), but you will certainly want to read Deathstalker Legacy before immersing yourself in the complex plot of Deathstalker Return. There is just too much going on here for you to jump in unprepared.
The story is set immediately after Legacy and is essentially split into two parts: Lewis & co., and Finn/Douglas.
This book will keep Simon R Green fans happy. Death and villainy, heroism and matyrdom - its all in there. Finn kinda becomes the guy Dram always wanted to be whilst Lewis gets what he always wanted...
Pretty much everything you wanted to know at the end of Deathstalker Destiny is revealed although the book ends with an excellent cliff hanger that lets you know the final book will be a humdinger.
In short - I loved it. I can barely wait for Deathstalker Coda. This book enriches the entire series - its not often you can say that on book 8!
There is more action and adventure this time around, so it at least attempts to be more like its old self. Lewis Deathstalker travels a similar path to his ancestor Owen in order to the find the legend himself and somehow bring him back. But it isn't as entertaining the second time around. This new cast of characters haven't clicked with me the way the first lot did, and I think the Terror has been vastly under-used so far in the series. It's a dimension-spanning world-eater and yet we have only seen it twice in two books. We didn't see the Recreated till late in the first saga, true, but I still felt their sense of menace, while I feel very little presently for the Terror.
That said, this book IS better than its predecessor, and it did have its moments, along with a mind-blowing ending which Green has successfully managed to keep me hooked to the series with. I truly hope that Green pulls out all the stops in the last volume of his great series and makes all of what he has achieved up to now worth it.
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