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The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

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REVIEW | The Golden City by John Twelve Hawks (Doubleday)

The Golden City is the third and final book in the Fourth Realm series by John Twelve Hawks.  I devoured The Traveler soon after its hardcover release and thought it showed great promise for a modern take on 1984, but with more Fantasy elements.  The Harlequin mythology and realms pulled me along with its mix of different eastern ideologies and the Travelers influence through history.  The Dark River suffered from middle-book syndrome somewhat, but it did keep things moving along fairly well.  However, things fall apart with The Golden City.  The story gets bogged down with far too much of the author trying to impart his ideals rather than telling a good story.  While I appreciate and realize our world is closer than ever to being turned into a freedomless prison, readers would have been better served with a story that stayed with them and therefore imparted its message rather than being beaten over the head with one.

What's great about so many Sci-Fi and Fantasy books from the last few years is that instead of having black and white characters and situations things are grayer. This aspect is totally missing from The Golden City where Hawks prefers hardliner axioms of good and evil.  The only redemptive part is that all of the realms previously discussed are revealed although one is sick and twisted and another a bit of a disappointment. The story moved far too quick and is more akin to a screen play where the action elements are left in, but the parts that would connect you to the characters are left out or overdone. Maybe things could have been improved with a few extra scenes.  Maya's rescue was especially underwhelming and Boone being redemptive just doesn't ring true even with the backstory.

What tries to be a modern speculative fiction thriller ends up being more akin to books from 20 years ago just veiled with modern settings and technology. Lastly, the ending didn't entirely make sense as to why the brothers did what they did and as a final confrontation it was a let down.  I give The Golden City 4 out of 10 Hats.  I'd only recommend this if you've read the first two books as you get resolution on quite a bit, but otherwise I'd steer clear.  If you've only read The Traveler stop there and enjoy it for what it was and what could have been.  John Twelve Hawks will have to blow me away with the premise of his next book to get me back on board.

Copy purchased.