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on 20 May 2004
Having followed the Deathstalkers from Owens outlawing to the hunt to find him, I can say that this book keeps the same high standard as the others. Deathstalker luck continues to run its course as the hunt for Owen continues, Finn continues his quest to destroy the Golden age of humanity, Douglas notices that not everything is as he thought and the paragon Emma Steel continues to hunt the bad guys. And we get a glimpse of what a maze altered person is truly capable of.
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.
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VINE VOICEon 21 May 2004
Well. Where to start... the 8th book in the Deathstalker cycle is excellent, the reintroduction of old characters gives new life to the book and allows a better association with the characters.
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!
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Two hundred years have passed since Owen Deathstalker and his companions overthrew a corrupt Empire and saved humanity from the seemingly insurmountable threat of the Recreated. Owen Deathstalker, Hazel D'Ark, Jack Random, Ruby Journey - they are just legends now, the details of their exploits removed from the historical record because the new king and queen thought that the people would be more inspired by legend than a history that revealed their human weaknesses. Thanks to Owen, the Empire did indeed enter into a Golden Age, the enemies of Humanity either defeated or incorporated as newly established allies. Now that great era of peace and interspecies cooperation is falling apart, eaten away from within by a power-hungry former enforcer of justice and threatened from without by the prophesied arrival of the Terror. Owen Deathstalker warned of the coming danger in his final message, and now everyone in the Empire looks to him to return and save the day once again, for legend decrees that he alone can defeat the apocalyptic menace of the Terror.
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.
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VINE VOICEon 30 July 2007
Although Deathstalker Return is an improvement over Deathstalker Legacy, I still found it to be lacking something. It seems to me that some of the spark, some of the magic, of the first Deathstalker saga has gone. Simon Green still has a great imagination and wit, but I'm just not finding myself to be as engrossed in this saga as in the first one, which had me on the edge of my seat more often than not. This series is taking me a lot more "through the motions".

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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on 25 March 2005
once again Simon Green has produced another superb story the characters are great the action is fantastic and the detail that goes into the make up of each of his characters is absolutley fabulous having read the previous books in the series, I was eagerly looking forward to the next and he did not let me down, Lewis and Jesamine are a brilliant couple, rosa the psyschopath is the type of person that in real life you would definately want to avoid, and as for Brett, he is the type of person that brings a new meaning to the phrase "would you buy a used car off this man" all in all a brilliant book, i could not put it down and have just ordered the sequel, I can hardly wait.
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on 3 October 2015
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on 25 July 2015
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