Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Last Four Things

Thank you to Wunderkind-PR, for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

UK Cover
The Last Four Things, by Paul Hoffman is the sequel to 'The Left Hand of God' and takes place in a world similar but different to our own historical world, where a powerful religious order 'The Redeemers' wages war against 'The Antagonists' and other 'enemy' nations. The focus of a very brutal kind of affection from Redeemer Bosco, the story continues to focus on Cale - a young man numbed by a brutal childhood, betrayed by his first love and now is a fierce weapon for his mentor Bosco's plans.

To the warrior-monks known as the Redeemers, who rule over massive armies of child slaves, “the last four things” represent the culmination of a faithful life. Death. Judgment. Heaven. Hell. The last four things represent eternal bliss-or endless destruction, permanent chaos, and infinite pain.

Perhaps nowhere are the competing ideas of heaven and hell exhibited more clearly than in the dark and tormented soul of Thomas Cale. Betrayed by his beloved but still marked by a child’s innocence, possessed of a remarkable aptitude for violence but capable of extreme tenderness, Cale will lead the Redeemers into a battle for nothing less than the fate of the human race. And though his broken heart foretells the bloody trail he will leave in pursuit of a personal peace he can never achieve, a glimmer of hope remains. The question even Cale can’t answer: When it comes time to decide the fate of the world, to ensure the extermination of humankind or spare it, what will he choose? To express God’s will on the edge of his sword, or to forgive his fellow man-and himself?

US Cover
The book begins almost immediately after the events of the previous book, but Cale has become an even darker character, changed by betrayed love and alone without his friends, he becomes more susceptible to Bosco's manipulative behaviour and begins to see himself as an Angel of Death. Compared to the first book, The Last Four Things is more slow to begin, but seems to explore the dynamic of Bosco and Cale's relationship and its sudden change from student-mentor to soldiers in a holy war.

We also get to see more of the people of this world through Kleitze experiences and the battles between Redeemers and other nations/people. As before, Hoffman's strength lies in the description and detail of battles. His characterisation of the main characters is excellent and their actions remain true to the characters. My favourite moments of this book have been the interaction between Vague Henri and Cale - which shows a more boyish side to the later. I'm intrigued by the plot twists, characters and the world Hoffman has created and definitely am looking forward to the third book to see how this story develops.

My only fault is regarding female characters - there were a couple of good developed female characters in this book but considering the underlying theme concerning women and how pivotal it seems this is going to be in the future plot - more strong female characters would be nice. That being said, this is a high military fantasy set in a world where women seem to be worthless (and soulless) so it does make sense from character's perspective.

I can't wait for the next book in this series, especially with the cliff-hanger ending so I sincerely  recommend reading this series to anyone! 


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