The imaginative, muddled conclusion to the Seven Stars Trilogy.
Lots of things happen in the first 100 pages or so of Bartholomeusz’s final installment to the trilogy he created when he was a teenager. First, British student Jack Lawson and his pals Dannie and Ruth find themselves on a Goonies-like quest to find another missing star shard in a series of perilous underground caves. Meanwhile, his dwarf friend Bál finds himself lying facedown near the sea beside the elf Cire, whom he helped rescue in The Black Rose (2012). The two meet up with their Apollonian allies and become embroiled in a Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix–like political revolt. At the same time, the evil Cult of Dionysus threatens resurgence. For fans of the series, Bartholomeusz probably packs way too much exposition into each chapter, but the exhaustive recapitulation of past events will no doubt help clear away the fog for new readers or those with weak memories. Mythological references run amok, and monikers like The Golden Turtle (the Apollonians’ ship), Übermensch (Jack’s mystical role) and many more show the story’s beginnings as juvenilia and will induce much groaning and eye-rolling. Still, Bartholomeusz’s wild imagination and ability to pen swift action sequences may spark the interests of dedicated sci-fi and fantasy readers.
With experience and a firm hand, this author could be big. (Fantasy. 12-16)