Always Forever by Mark Chadbourn

Rating 9.3/10
Read this trilogy, itís worth it.

Chadbourn's final book in "The Age of Misrule' is a sparkling read where the Quincunx of Church, Shavi, Veitch, Laura and Ruth lead the Tuatha De'Danaan into battle against the Fomorri and Balor. Ruth and Church are on the Waverunner, a magical ship-Tardis where they save and gain the respect of the Danaan. Church and Baccharus form a great fighting friendship after Callow and the Nightwalkers storm the ship, capture Manannan and bring the Wish-Hex with which to unleash a great plague to destroy the Golden Ones. Ruth becomes ever more powerful, whilst, a world away, Veitch enters the underworld, Orpheus-style to rescue Shavi, whilst Tom gains immense power from the most ancient of Gods enabling him to control deities such as Epona.

{C}{C}{C}The circle is turning as our human Fragile Creatures' realise the Pendragon Spirit and become leaders in their own right.

Laura reawakens after birthing Balor and finds herself with the Bone Inspector. During the titanic struggle Church realises his love for Ruth and the pair head for the Western Isles, home to the Danaan, so Church can take the water from the Pool of Wishes to cleanse himself from the Roisin Dubh's taint. There they discover the Danaan are on the verge of civil war over the potential of humans but manage to secure the aid of the Golden Ones in unleashing another war on Balor and the Fomorri. What follows is a battle royal as the three separate armies converge on London, one headed by Ruth and Veitch, the other by Church, Tom and the Bone Inspector, the final by Laura and Shavi. Along the way they fight every dark creature under the mythical sun, crawl through more London tunnels that we ever knew existed and find their own personal glory. Come the denouement we discover the unwitting traitor, people die nobly and Balor is defeated. However, there is a cyclical ending with Church and hope for a new beginning.

This is a well-crafted trilogy that both binds together many Celtic myths and weaves a fine "modern" tale around them that snares the reader. The central characterisation across the trilogy is not terribly strong but the supporting cast are well drawn and provide enough support. Of the three, this final novel is the best as Chadbourn seems to relax in his writing style, the first half given to the Waverunner being the best of it. The denouement is suitably climatic and not clichéd. So, all-in-all, a good series and well worth reading for any fan of Celtic fantasy.
travelswithadiplomat, 9.5/10

The blurb on the back cover - The Eternal Conflict between the Light and Dark once again blackens the skies and blights the land. On one side stand the Tuatha de Danaan, golden-skinned and beautiful, filled with all the might of angels. On the other are the Fomorii, monstrous devils hell-bent on destroying all human existence. And in the middle are the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, determined to use the strange power that binds them to the land in a last, desperate attempt to save the human race. Church, Ruth, Ryan, Laura and Shavi have joined forces with Tom, a hero from the mists of time, to wage a guerrilla war against the iron rule of the gods. ALWAYS FOREVER is the stunning conclusion of a powerful fantasy saga by one of Britain's most acclaimed young writers.

I have recently read and reviewed the first two books on this series, The Age of Misrule by Mark Chadbourn. The first two books are The Worlds End, and Darkest Hour. This book is a great end to the series.  The first few chapters lead to some surprises. It turns out that in some ways the Brother and Sisterhood of the Dragons, which appeared to have been almost destroyed at the end of the second book are in even more trouble than they thought. But a surprising turn of events which leads to some unexpected reunions helps re-ignite the passion to succeed within them.

I’m finding this a really hard book to review without giving anything away, so by necessity it’s going to be a short review.

I enjoyed the book a lot, but early on found some of the circumstances of how things happened to be just a little too convenient.  I guess that’s what happens when you have alien sudo-gods on your side. I’m just cynical and get nervous when good things start to happen.

I do love the background of the story, the destruction of modern society which started as a trickle in the early books has now become a torrent and things are looking bad for England and the rest of the world. Again as the hero’s travel around England towards their ultimate destination in London we are sucked in by the immensely accurate details of their surroundings that are all fleshed out by Mark Chadbourn. The destruction of London is so sad, and good at the same time you really empathise with what the Brothers and Sisters of the Dragon are trying to save.

About a third of the way through this final book in the trilogy the story really takes off and gets very intense. Once the characters reached London I had to sacrifice my sleep and read through the night to find out what happened to the Brother and sisterhood of the Dragons as I could not wait to find out the finale.

There is so much more that could be said, but just about anything else would constitute too much of a spoiler.  Believe me if you have read the first two books in this series you have to pick up and read this third and final book in the trilogy.  The neat twist as the end just adds to the story... Read the trilogy, it’s worth it.
Stephanie Gelder, 9/10

This Always Forever book review was written by and Stephanie Gelder

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