THE BROKEN ISLES by Mark Charan Newton


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Final book of the Legends of the Red Sun series (The Book of Transformations, 2011, etc.), written in the style known as New Weird—meaning somewhere between bizarre fantasy and far-future science fiction; it was first published in the U.K. in 2012.

We return to a world where the sun is red, an ice age impends, and a war between two ancient enemies from another dimension threatens the Boreal Archipelago. Both sets of combatants are entering the world via the Realm Gates, whose malign influence, it turns out, might be causing the ice age. The city of Villjamur lies in ruins, destroyed by Policharos, an immense, flying alien artifact, source of the insensate lobsterlike warriors called Okun. Thousands of refugees from Villjamur, shepherded by Investigator Fulcrom of the Villjamur Inquisition, and occasionally aided by the mysterious, godlike but suicidal Frater Mercury, flee toward the city of Villiren. Here, albino Cmdr. Brynd Lathraea schemes to defeat the Okun while preparing to receive the refugees and simultaneously accommodate a vast influx of good-guy warriors, the bitter enemies of Policharos, led by the giant blue swordswoman Artemisia. A subplot involving the half-vampire gangster Malum, who attempts to stir up resentment against the incoming alien allies and parlay it into a takeover of Villiren, amounts to scarcely more than an annoyance. Even the battles offer little more than standard gore, spilled abdominal organs and flying body parts. Still weird, then, but not totally outlandish, with a few involving characters, others given nothing much to do, stock plotting and a patchwork narrative that offers little in the way of tension or engagement.

A disappointing end to what had been a distinctive series.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-330-52168-0
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2014


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