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Writing outside of the box
on 2 October 2014
A mere 16 months after the first novel in this new series debuted we have Book 2, but with such a short turnaround time is it any good? The answer is yes. The Hangman's Revolution loses a lot of the gore and time-hopping but goes much darker and ends up being an allegory of anti-religion.
Chevron Savano is back in her own time, but not her own timeline. The evil Colonel Box has used the WARP pad to take over 19th Century London (and the most of the world) and declare himself as some sort of self-appointed God or Saint. But it wasn't always this way. In another timeline Chevron Savano was someone else and had a different life with different experiences. These memories (if they can be described as such) come to her in dreams visions and she is not sure what is real and what is not. It's a nice way to explain the logic/faults so often prominent in time travel fiction.
Back in 1899 young Riley is having bad dreams about Garrick but is mainly concerned with Otto Malarkey bullying him for the dues paid to the Battering Ram gang. However, one of Otto's men is actually an undercover Box agent (the Hangman of the title) and he's bent on taking out Otto and his top men in order to lead the Battering Ram's himself. Savano arrives from the future (the book's one and only instance of time-travel) and reunites with Riley and Otto to take down Colonel Box and save the world from a gloomy fate.
I said before that Eoin Colfer would need to work hard to transform the character of Otto Malarkey as still seemed unnecessarily cruel after his appearance in the first book and Airman. Thankfully, he does manage to turn him around and Otto has a bigger and better character arc this time around. I can't say I was rooting for either side at the end though as saving Parliament and the pig politicians within is not something I would bother doing myself, but if it's the lesser of two evils.
Book 3 is hinted at in the closing chapters, but depending on how many Colfer has in him I rather see this not fizzle out like Artemis Fowl did.