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on 21 July 2009
I'm going to be completely honest - if you have stumbled across this book by chance on Amazon, stop right now. Do not attempt to read this book without at least reading the preceding two books in the Kingdom of Serpent trilogy (Jack of Ravens and The Burning Man), or else you will miss out on a wealth of understanding.

As for this book... It is the last in a well loved (to me, at least) series. And it is a beautiful end. Although the beginning felt a little bit jumbled as it struggles to keep up with jumping between worlds and times and narrators, soon it settles down. The story is fast paced, yet still rich in detail as we have come to expect from Chadbourn.

This is about the last stand of all the Gods that ever existed throughout mythology. I was being introduced to Gods I'd never heard of, and some I'd come across in my travels, and here they were all woven together into the same intricate story line, with a few of our old favourite humans from previous books in there as well.

I don't want to go into too much detail here, for fear of ruining the story. It is Existence's last chance to avoid the mundane-ness of a world without magic which The Void is attempting to bring about. And for the heroes of Existence, the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, the odds are not looking good. Gods corrupted by The Void trick them and attempt to stop them at every turn, but can they even trust themselves? Or will they be betrayed from within?

Everything hangs in the balance and even in the penultimate chapter, I really had no idea which way it was going to turn out. Exquisitely written, steeped in the kind of detail scholars spend lifetimes trying to amass. Chadbourn is a first class fantasy writer, a complete storm of fresh air to really wake you up.

(Read Chadbourn's books in order - Start with the Age of Misrule Trilogy (World's End, Darkest Hour, and Always Forever), then the Dark Age Trilogy (Devil in Green, Queen of Sinister, and Hounds of Avalon), then the Kingdom of Serpent trilogy. Although each trilogy can be read as a stand-alone, it is much more rewarding to read them all).
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on 9 September 2009
The Brothers and Sisters of Dragons gather at the end of the world; they are siding with gods and immortals in the struggle against the essence of evil. They must save the world and all life from falling into the anti-life of the Void. But the Void is filling the `Burning Man' -- the vessel that has been made to hold it. Ragnarok is upon them.

To attempt to summarise the plot would take far too long and give away far too much. This book has a cast of hundreds that are named, and thousands more that are not. The story follows multiple stream and is relentless in its pace as it thunders toward the conclusion. As ever, Chadbourn utilises mythology and folklore from across the globe, mixing and matching as he sews them into a totally new landscape. Even though I have read all the previous eight volumes I had to stop now and then to recall earlier events in the saga; but there is nothing wrong with a book that challenges the grey cells.

What's noticeable is the distinct change in style that developed over the course of the story arc as a whole. The language in this latest volume has become far more formal, and is bulging with metaphor and symbolism. And although it has been said of many books, I can honestly say this is one of the few that does feel genuinely Tolkien-esque in both style and presence. The journey through the underground kingdom in particular had that familiar feeling of Lord of the Rings.

Make no mistake, this book is dense and complex. For those who have not read any others in this massive saga there is a seven page round-up and a lengthy prologue. But as one would expect from book three of any trilogy -- and this is also volume nine in the series, remember -- you should not, as they say, start here. You really do need to read, at least, the two preceding volumes to be able to follow the story in Destroyer of Worlds. But let's face it, few people would pick up a `last volume' and attempt to read it cold. We are assured that this is the last in the series; but although the doors close on an epic, there is just a tiniest chink left ajar...
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on 28 February 2011
The third book in a trilogy, the third trilogy in a trio, so for now the story of Brothers and Sisters of Dragons is done, with a rather high bodycount.

The two teams, or what is left of them, have yet another desperate plan to try and save Existence.

More than one team of course given they have been collecting their own small army of counterparts throughout time. So while the X-Men and X-Force are off trying to save the universe (while hoping Emma Frost and Dark Cyclops don't stab them in the back) it is up to a Roman barbarian to try and mold an army together to give them some time to get it done. Complete with jokes about what barbarians usually due to sorcerers, too, when we discover that like Conan, he, too, has a plan.

Anyone who knows zilch about mythology might get slightly lost in the thunder god team-ups perhaps, but this is fun, as the Pendragon spirit wielders, the Tuatha De Danan and most of the gods of several Earth pantheons make a stand. Except for the Egyptians, whom Church and company discovered they really didn't like all that much in a prior installment.

Or to put it another way, there is a fair pile of Simon R. Green level crazy to be found in this one with god armies, monsters, superwitches, dragons, talking lamps, monsters and the odd ten billion spiders.

While still leaving wiggle-room for more if so desired.

3.5 out of 5
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Many readers will have anticipated this release for quite some time. That said, if you haven't read the others you will be wasting your time jumping into this, Mark's latest release, without having read the other Jack of Raven novels. Not only could it be very confusing but the reader will have missed an absolute load of twists that will amuse as well as fascinate them.

What makes this even better is that the reader is left with no idea which way the book will finish until that final chapter and with the almost seemingly magical talent then it's a twister that will more than please even the most finicky of readers. A great conclusion to this series and demonstrates again why Mark is a name fast gathering speed.
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on 18 December 2012
i made the mistake of reading this without reading any of the others,but still i found it excellent so many story lines merge.its a giant line up of characters from british history pagan gods add to that pretty much every god deity good and bad,the author has set a huge task the final battle against the dark void include a trip to stonehenge at a celtic solstice....there are great characters and mighty battles.superb writing illuminating a massive idea
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on 6 October 2009
All loose ends tied up but a little disapointed with the ending. Only way it could go though I suppose.
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on 6 November 2009
The 9th and final book in the series, I was desperately hoping for it to be wonderfully fantastic like the first 7 however I found this and the 8th book (the burning man) hard to read, it just felt like it was written in a different style from the first 7 books and I found it increasingly difficult to get into.

It often felt like I was being brain washed by a hippie, not being told a fantastic story where I used to care so much about the characters. I kept catching myself thinking 'If I read some one say "its all in the weave and the weft", "there are repeating patterns" or "we are part of something much larger" I am going to scream' these kinds of quotes typically from Shavi and Church I just felt these kinds of preachy lines used all too often and I was being smacked over the head with them until I was 'convinced' this was the way the world was.

I would have given this book 1 or 2 stars I only gave it 3 due to it being the last book in what should have been my favourite fantasy series I have ever read. It was certainly looking that way for the first 7 books but unfortunately it lost it for me with 8 and 9. I didnt particularly care about the characters any more I was just reading it so I had finished it, not for pleasure, which is a great shame.
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