The Society of Blood: Obsidian Heart, Book 2 – 29.08.22 The Wraiths of War: Obsidian Heart, Book 3 – 03.09.22
Wow – I have been totally engrossed in these audiobooks (about 40 hours in total) for the last couple of weeks. The series is a kind of urban fantasy, time travel, magical thriller/horror sort of thing, and I loved it.
The first book – The Wolves of London, is quite confusing, as the reader, along with the protagonist, is trying to work out what the heck is going on with his life. Alex is a good person, although he has a prison record from being caught up with some bad sorts in his youth. When his daughter’s life is threatened by some scary drug lord types, Alex calls on his old prison mentor for help. He ends up having to steal a small piece of obsidian, in the shape of a human heart, and as soon as he touches it his life spirals in a bad way. His younger daughter is kidnapped, and weird horrific magical creatures start chasing him.
The second book, The Society of Blood, is largely set in Victorian London, where Alex has been taken by a nasty baddy. It’s quite steampunky with creatures who are part human and part machine and lots of pea souper induced mystery and atmosphere. In this book Alex starts to work out some of the mysteries that surround him and to understand his part in them.
The third book, The Wraiths of War, see Alex living through World War One, as he has to fulfill the time loop obligations by doing the things that his future self had done to help his past and present self to escape from the many near death situations he has been in! I think that the time travel thing is really well done – the writer explores all the questions that thinking about time travel raises and addresses them in a interesting and believable way – I didn’t see any glaring plot holes that you sometimes see in this type of fiction.
I found myself glued to the whole series, and rarely if ever bored (a hard enough thing even in a single novel to keep from dipping in the middle). I liked the characters, I thought there was just the right balance between humour and seriousness and enough tension and intrigue to keep me guessing and not always seeing the twists. I liked the narrator on the whole, occasionally he parsed phrases strangely, but maybe there isn’t’ much time to fix things like that(?). Also, I thought it was a bit weird that when Alex was talking to older versions of himself, the older ones were posher – the older the posher. I suppose this was to distinguish the two voices for the listener, but I wondered why would he get posher?
I wasn’t sure I loved the ending- all three books build up to this big reveal, and then when it happens it seems a bit rushed and a bit of a let down. Hmmm. Pity, because up till then I was ready to review the books with nothing but gushing superlatives. Still, I don’t think that’s enough to stop me from loving the series, and in fact, the more I think and digest the ending, the more fitting it actually seems.