The fourth in the Wereworld saga continues to deliver action and adventure in abundance. There are twists and turns and some pleasant surprises. Jobling has found his stride, and we feel like we're slowly drawing towards the endgame.
That said, for the most part the war between wolf and cat takes a back seat as another threat tries to seize power in the chaos. This makes a nice change of focus and although there are still (at least) two more books to go in the series, Jobling begins to reward readers by making good on some of the threats and ideas established in the first book. In fact this book is generally more focussed than previous instalments, although the war is still fought on many fronts, objectives are easily defined and in Vala we have a central villain (and a thoroughly hideous one at that) whom must be defeated.
Vala also talks of the old Therians that existed long before the Therian lords this series features. Such beasts (ie. Dragonlords!) were mentioned in previous novels, perhaps we shall get to see them in future installments? If not then Jobling is just a big tease.
As usual for this series, the action is breathless and there are some fantastic battle sequences especially involving Whitley and Gretchen, missing in the last book, who return to central roles and have matured into formidable heroes getting to kick ass just like the boys. Jobling continues to have a sense for cool visuals and he portrays them well in his prose.
Between the battles (and there are a lot) our hero Drew gets to ask some interesting questions of himself and his right to rule. These moments show a character who is maturing and beginning to understand his place in the world. There are also much needed passages of brevity and genuine wit, the humour working better here than in previous books, another sign of Jobling's assured grasp of his characters.
However, although everyone gets their chance to shine (no small feat considering the size of the cast and the breadth of the stage on which they fight) some characters don't get to develop as much as perhaps you'd like. Also, due to so much happening, some scenes we really ought to witness happen "between" chapters especially the death of one of the characters.
Another entertaining visit to the Seven Realms of Lyssia, a more focussed and assured installment that is confidently written and consistently entertaining.
Review by Sean Mason
Curtis Jobling is an author and illustrator famously known as the designer of the BAFTA winning BBC show Bob The Builder, as well as creator of Frankenstein's Cat. Early work in animation included model and puppet paintin [...]
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