Mix Tarot and poker in a game for attaining immortality (by possessing other peoples bodies as yours grows old). But what happens when one of your victims, not without power himself, decides to fight back. Its the high stakes game to end all card games.
Powers as usual takes the world we think we know and shows us unseen mystical elements at work behind it all.
This story evokes so much magic out of a simple deck of cards, you'll never look at a deck in the same way again.
Great characters good and bad and I enjoyed this as much as Anubis Gates, one of my favourite fantasy stories of all time.
In style, tone and some substance, this book feels very similar to Stephen King's The Stand. That's a compliment! There are massive differences, not least that Last Call is set in a world which hasn't quite gone post-apocalyptic but if you enjoyed The Stand then you should shuffle this one to the top of your reading list. Last Call is an intricate, well plotted, slightly baffling supernatural mix of myth and modernism, set in Las Vegas at a pivotal time. The Old King needs to take a new set of bodies to survive and all the action happens through card games. His son is one of his targets, but his son could also be the only real threat to the Old King's supremacy. The resulting battle is played out in casinos and bars, while the hero's life disintegrates around him as the dark lords of drink and death tug at his coat-tails.
If you enjoy Neil Gaiman's Sandman stories of gods walking in the modern world, or enjoy the idea that all the characters are avatars from a deck of cards, or are captivated by the idea that the tarot may be true, then this book will grab you from the get-go. The characters are compelling and it's very well written. I didn't understand all of the references or most of the poker play, which made some segments of it hard to understand but that didn't detract too much overall. Some scenes are genuinely chilling, and some of the characters utterly repugnant. Like many 'quest' novels there is a fair bit of running around in circles but it builds to a very satisfying resolution. And you never quite know who is going to make it to the end of the final chapter in one piece... Thrilling. 8/10
A mixture of playing cards and tarot cards will determine the next Fisher King, and the battlefield consists of the current holder (the father) and the contender (the son), and a host of would-be's who flit in and out of this strange tale. But lives are at stake, or more to the point, souls are at stake, and ghostly visions pop up now and again, just to keep you on your toes.
And, if like me, you have a job remembering who did what on which page, which is about 60 pages ago, and now you've forgotten, it might pay you to do a little list of people and the first page that they appear, because, take my word for it, there are quite a few characters inhabiting this story, and it gets mighty testing trying to remember half of them.
Having said all that I must say, despite the fact that the card play was a mite over my head, that I really quite enjoyed this fantasmagorical jaunt through modern day Las Vegas.
But The Anubis Gates is still my favourite by this author.
I'm going to keep this short: it's different, fast paced and I don't think you need to know very much about gambling or card games to follow it; you do have to concentrate though! A weird mix of mythology and superstition to form the plot of what is essentially, a supernatural thriller. A really good, tense, angsty supernatural thriller with some nice writing. It's not a short novel but I raced through it in two sittings, hence the 4 star rating. There are a few typos in the Kindle copy but not enough to be off putting.
As I read this, it come back to me that I had read it many years ago. I still really enjoyed the book and have just ordered the second in the series. The story is way out and very gripping, even if the author's style is a bit rambling and slap dash in some places. I don't think the read was helped by a very poor e-book format - there were numerous spelling errors that sometimes made it hard to understand a sentence. I assume that this is due to the original book being scanned in and optical character recognition being used and then never being proof read, but I may be wrong.
Anyway, if you can get around that problem, this book is a thoroughly enjoyable read about a world of tarot based secret powers and supernatural characters but set in 90s Las Vegas.
A ferociously sharp novel set against an aromatic backdrop of beer, cigarettes, family, tarot decks, possession, gangsters and assassins. Whats not to like. Powers is on fire story wise with this one as he peels back the layers of myth, power plays and redemptions as cast of heroes and villains slug it out to be an immortal Fisherking. This is one of those novels with the power to change how you view yourself and the world around you. I just wish someone in Hollywood would make a movie out of this, it'd be fantastic stuff.
I really enjoyed this book. LA & Vegas felt real. The story gradually builds out its strangeness and becomes a real page turner. The fisher king is also at the heart of a series I started reading at the time this was originally published and that finished, for me, this year. A shorter book than the Wheel of Time, but well worth the read.
This is the third book I've read by Tim Powers and this is just as enjoyable as the others. Interesting story which mixes the occult with poker/ gambling and a trip across America and involves believable characters in a game of life and death!
Despite being quite lengthy I felt that this was a fast paced and fun read. Powers really is an inventive author. There are enough great scenes, characters and set pieces to fill up at least five books.
The background detail is very richly textured. It really does draw you in. It is very cleverly done. The exposition is slickly done as well.
Most of the characters are very well described and well drawn. They are very varied and everyone's actions and behaviours do seem to be plausible.
The storyline is very compelling and I really did feel immersed in the story
I would really recommend this. It works as SF/Fantasy and as a thriller.