The third book in Black’s (The Death of Magic, 2013, etc.) epic urban fantasy series about a world of magic turned upside down.
This installment in the Saga of the New Gods sees a number of characters from prior books in ever more dire circumstances. In Book 1, a group of friends unleashed the mayhem of Dungeons and Dragons onto the real world; that mayhem continued and expanded in Book 2. This volume sees a deeper descent into a world populated by magical figures: nymphs (who “did not, in fact, live on sex”), Thor, a six-legged mutant cat named Mr. Mephistopheles, and more. There’s also an encroaching darkness known as the Abyss, home of the Dark Lord and other nefarious entities. Failure, as one character explains, means “all the world will be swallowed up in chaos and darkness for all eternity.” Thanks to the influx of magic, once-normal people have traded in their old personalities for fantastical ones, such as Dr. Mathias Dent, a medical researcher from prior books who now heads the Dark Lord’s research teams. The book takes readers to mythical, gory, and downright strange places. It’s frequently graphic—“The disgusting sound of crunching bones, and the wafting smell of blood from the other diner in his office, nearly ended his evening meal with his partially digested lunch all over his desk”—and always magical: “Magical energies crackled along his body, spitting and arcing out and to the ground.” There’s no shortage of novel creations, though some details may prove too over-the-top even for fantasy die-hards, as with Mr. Mephistopheles, who, once an alley cat, becomes “a great six-legged cat with two long whip-like tentacles that came out from his shoulders.” Dialogue can likewise seem a bit overcooked on occasion—“No, NO, NOOOO!!”—but fans of darker worlds à la Terry Brooks are likely to find portions to enjoy.
Imaginative and vicious, overflowing with sinister
creations and a monumental struggle.