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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Power of Five: Oblivion
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on 6 October 2012
It's a long time coming, Oblivion, and by heck is it worth the wait. Horowitz proves once again that he is a master of his craft, providing a chilling tale of the end of the world. His prose is, thankfully, far less "and now we'll pause for some irrelevant information that the character isn't going to know but I'm putting it in to show that I do my research", a personal bugbear of mine that carries over from his previous series, Alex Rider, and far more tense for it. There will be reviewers that comment on some things they don't get (I'm pretty sure we'll never get all the answers to this one, like just how the hell they managed to jump 10 years ahead) but in the end, they don't matter. Oblivion is a powerful, dark work that leaves a bittersweet taste in the mouth by it's end, and yet doesn't feel bad at all.
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on 12 August 2013
After the long wait - the ending. Completing the book and the series brought, for me, a moving sense of loss and closure; the narrative all through has been so powerful. Horowitz is truly a master story-teller. I think he himself once said that he didn't write literature, he told stories. No shame in that. Perhaps 'literature' needs more story-tellers.
Be prepared, Oblivion is unrelentingly bleak and harsh; everywhere the world is in ruins and pain. The device of scattering the Five at the outset means that Horowitz can spend the book bringing them back together, each with his/her individual battles to fight and enemies to be overcome. Along the way there are a few far-fetched coincidences and some issues unexplained. (First the nuclear missiles can't be used, then they suddenly can. How would Nexus have known years in advance which canal would be used and at which point the boat would be attacked?) There are also moments of pure Tolkein at the last battle as the deformed and modified creatures attack the fortress, and perhaps even of C.S.Lewis with each of the Five having their personal weapon-gift.
But these are trivialities. The final twist genuinely caught me by surprise and there is real sadness in the ending, but I have to say I was hooked all the way. In fact I re-read the last pages because I didn't want the book to stop!
Unlike the Alex Rider series, the Power of Five is very much a continuous narrative and the books need to be read in the right order for the saga to make sense, so if you haven't read them you need to start with Raven's Gate not Oblivion.
They may be addressed to young (male?) teens but their appeal, as with all Horowitz, is universal. Completely immersive and engaging. Totally recommended.
(Note to publisher: Why didn't you make the spine of the book match the previous four?)
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on 25 February 2013
I waited so long for this book to come out that I had all but forgotten what happened in the others by the time I got to reading it! The logical conclusion to this would be to re-read the other books but they're at home and I'm at university, however Oblivion does an excellent job of jogging your memory without leading to the tedious business of re-telling the other stories in full as many authors might have ended up doing. I first read Raven's Gate when I was 13 and it is great to finally get to the last book now I'm 19.

Following the events of Necropolis the books is broken up into several sections to spend time with each of the five in their challenge to reunite with one another. Jamie finds himself in England, Scarlet in Egypt, Pedro and Scott in Italy and Matt in Brazil. It is ten years in the future after the rise of the old ones and Horowitz has created a very bleak picture of the world. There is little in the way of light relief in this book so be prepared when you start to read! We are initially introduced to the new character of Holly, a girl who has been living in an isolated village in a post-apocalyptic Britain for the last ten years. She seems to play only a tiny role in the novel and I suspect that her sole purpose in the book is to act as the 'stupid' character to explain the happenings of the previous book to.

Some may complain that the way that Oblivion is divided into several short parts is annoying but I enjoyed it as it kept the story from growing stale, and kept my blood pressure nice and high as each character was left right in the middle of a tricky situation as we move from part to part. I also liked the 'social awareness' that Horowitz brought to the book through the dilemnas of Scott, yes the world we find ourselves in is a terrible one, but how much of that is to be blamed on the old ones and how much is simply the way that humanity, both in fiction and reality, was headed anyway?

This book was an excellent read, it tied together the loose ends from the previous books well and, especially in the case of Matt, there was a real sense of character development. If there were to be one flaw it is that after the final battle you can't help but wonder how exactly humanity does plan to restore itself? A question that is never really answered. This book stole two days of my life as once I had started reading I couldn't put it down. I accept that I am a big kid at heart and still love my 'teenagers save the world' books, however I genuinely think that this is a series of books that anyone could sink their teeth into. I am now at a total loss as to what I am going to read next!
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on 3 October 2016
It's been around one hour since I've finished Oblivion, and I quite honestly don't know how to feel about it. I can't decide if I feel satisfied with it or simply hollow and overwhelmed by how much happened.
This is a bit vague to be a true spoiler, but continue reading at your own risk.
The ending was not a true surprise to me, honestly. There were a lot of hints throughout the books. In book 2 there was a very glaring clue as to how things would go, and Jamie’s POV only reinforced that. Then Holly’s protagonism made things pretty clear.
I like that it’s sort of a conclusive ending but it still leaves some unanswered questions, namely regarding the dream world. But I find it weird that Holly first talks of Jamie as if she hasn’t seen him in a while when at the end she tells us she visits the dream world from time to time.
Anyway, I mostly liked this book, so I’m rating it 4/5.
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Having written the first four entries in this fantastic series, Anthony Horowitz kept fans in suspense for what seemed like an eternity, before delivering this, the climactic volume. And what a climax! At nearly 700 pages, this is a hefty tome, however there is absolutely no fat on it whatsoever; Horowitz builds up the tension impressively, weaving the stories of the five Gatekeepers together with precision and style, and producing a book that really is virtually impossible to put down. Horowitz's true skill however, is in cherry-picking key features of classic fiction, and melding them into something that feels familiar but retains an originality that is fresh and distinctive. From the Christ-like central figure - in this tale a fifteen year old boy from Yorkshire, to the nebulous necromancer `Chaos'; Sauron-esque but perhaps even more chilling, you can see the influences, but ultimately it is a dystopian fantasy world that is all Horowitz's own, and brutally, frighteningly, bang up to date.
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on 25 July 2013
it had been 8 years since Ravens Gate had been published, my son was 13, which is how I got into the Power of Five series. Then a five year gap between the last book and this, Oblivion the final installment. The original fans are all grown up and its almost like the series has matured with the readers, there's almost an analogy with the 10 year leap forward in time in the book and the time we have had to wait!
It doesn't disappoint, it's a huge book, at 668 pages more than twice the size of Ravens Gate, the pace is fast with just the right amount of information to remind of the story so far without being tedious, and leaving you with cliffhangers within the book as it jumps between the gatekeepers and the insurmountable obstacles they face has you reading faster.
The research that has gone into this is breathtaking, and to immerse yourself in writing a book that leaps between East Anglia, Naples, Cairo, Belem Brazil and Antarctica places Anthony Horowitz as one of the greatest YA writers of our time, but this isn't just for kids, I loved it, even the lump in throat ending, and so would my Dad have :( so I would highly recommend this to anyone that likes a little escapism a lot of action and a generous sprinkle of dark magic
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on 25 November 2012
... but far too long. I can read books that are longer than normal but for a children's book, I felt the author was trying to write the best story possible & therefore wrote a massive paving slab of a book. I think children who like this series will struggle to finish the book as their attention span will probably be captured elsewhere. It took me a few days to read it, & I must admit even I found it a little tiring!

But, on to the story. It wraps the series up very well, I particularly liked the character of Holly, it felt like Jamie needed her & wouldn't have been able to get to Antarctica without her. The battle at the end, in Antarctica, I felt like it wasn't as 'big' as it was supposed to be. It's the end of 5 books of the authors work & I felt like we, as readers, deserved a huge conclusion. But it just felt as short as the battle in the book Nightrise. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but I did feel he could have skipped a few chapters in the middle of the book to focus more on the ending. Still, it's a fantastic book & well worth reading... if you can put up with 800 pages!
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on 10 July 2015
This book truly deserves great praise, both for its storyline and the way it has been wrote. Although I enjoyed the book greatly, there are some flaws which I will note underneath:

The storyline itself is excellently wrote, but it is hard to ignore that there are points that seem to make the characters lack any initiative. The main characters of the novel are at times heavily reliant upon the secondary characters and at one point you may find yourself frustrated for Matt taking a certain decision near the beginning of the novel, instead of thinking more deeply into the situation by himself. The ending itself also seemed, in a word, unexplained. I found myself confused as to what the main objective was at the end and I also found that the story was concluded in an almost rushed state.

Besides from these negative aspects, one has to compliment the number of plot twists and elaborate settings in which the story is based. At times, I found myself shocked about what had just taken place, as it completely went against my expectations. The story also has a few gruesome scenes sprinkled throughout the novel, which will please many of the author's regular readers.

Overall, the book is exceptional and is suitable for both teenagers and adults alike. It is an avid read and a suitable end to an otherwise brilliant series.
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on 2 December 2012
The Power of Five started as a children's series featuring some elements of horror. This, the final book in the series, is a full-blown horror novel featuring child characters. It is a satisfactory conclusion to a generally very entertaining series (though a tad too religiose in its denouement). Horowitz is at worst a highly proficient writer, and sometimes a great one. The book races through many different locations at breakneck speed, but manages to make you care for the characters.

For a while, I thought he would never write this final book; it took four years for it to appear. Well worth the wait though.
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on 18 October 2012
This was a big and complicated book, an order of magnitude better than the previous four.

In this novel, the ludicrously bad characterization that had annoyed me in novels one to four (though I kept reading, as you can see!) transformed into something much better and more satisfying. The plot became much deeper and bigger as one of the Five has to accept a terrible foreknowledge that makes the whole narrative full of feeling - not least shame, which made me very uncomfortable.

I kept replaying the book in my mind afterwards; and I re-read the key episodes again, and they still work.

I thought from books one to four that AH just does thrilling plots and you have to accept the fatuously thin characters. But this book was much bigger than that. A remarkable story.
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