Wright envisions a nightmare for the human race that recalls H.P. Lovecraft at his most florid.
In this sequel to The Last Guardian of Everness (2003), the battle against evil still rages, and things aren’t looking too good for the guardians of the dream gate, which is supposed to hold back evil but is doing a pretty poor job of it. The job of watching the gate is currently entrusted to young Galen Waylock, who fell into a coma last time out and came to talking of the evil to come. Leading the evildoers is one Azrael de Grey, who conducts Satanic-summoning ceremonies in the bowels of the Pentagon. Galen’s relative Peter, a grizzled Vietnam vet confined to a wheelchair, has been taken captive by the forces of evil, which have infiltrated the military and government. There’s much hullabaloo on the other side of reality, too, with nightmarish dream worlds inhabited by monsters just waiting to unleash themselves on humanity. When they do, in a massive sea-battle featuring watery wraiths and monstrous krakens against the U.S. Navy, it’s the apocalypse come to life. The characters’ comic befuddlement in the midst of these fervidly overplotted scenarios is initially charming, but by the close, Wright’s piled-on, hyperbolic imaginings seem more like a fantasy-besotted teenager’s rewriting of the Books of Revelation—you know, with all the boring parts taken out.
Fun for a time, eventually exhausting.