Monday 2 September 2013

The Big Reap

(August 2013)

Say what you like about the Collector books, they rattle along at a fair old click. I don’t think I’ve read anything so urgently plot-driven since, well, the last one. There are a few holes in said plot, but they flash by so fast that you don’t really get time to dwell on them. It opens with our hero Sam getting an assignment to kill Hitler and it just escalates from there.

There’s something a little funny going on with the extended coda, which I’ll avoid saying too much about except that as the third book I’d assumed that this was going to round out a trilogy. Clearly not, that war between heaven and hell (you remember) is only really mentioned in passing and exists more as background noise, a kind of overarching context for what is, to be frank, a fairly formulaic plot that feels a little like a video game – level, boss, level, boss, level, big boss. That’s in part why the coda feels odd: after the climactic final showdown there’s still thirty pages or so to go.

But that level pattern here provides tempo, which is no bad thing. As I’ve said before, I don’t mind unoriginality as long as it’s done well. And it is; despite some final musings on free-will and the will of god these books are really all about pace and impact and atmosphere and Holm’s really getting into his groove here. This is my favourite book of the series so far and it seems plainly obvious that there’s room for more to come. I can’t say I’m not a little pleased by that. Not so sure about the Twilight references though.

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