Sunday, August 12, 2007

I finished reading... The Sons of Heaven

...The Sons of Heaven by Kage Baker.

The forces gathering to seize power finally move on the Company. The immortal Lewis wakes to find himself blinded, crippled, and left with no weapons but his voice, his memory, and the friendship of one extraordinary little girl. Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax, resurrected Victorian superman, plans for world domination. The immortal Mendoza makes a desperate bargain to delay him. Enforcer Budu, assisted by Joseph, enlists an unexpected ally in his plans to free his old warriors and bring judgment on his former masters. Executive Facilitator Suleyman uses his intelligence operation to uncover the secret of Alpha-Omega, vital to the mortals' survival. The mortal masters of the Company, terrified of a coup, invest in a plan they believe will terminate their immortal servants. And they awaken a powerful AI whom they call Dr Zeus. This web of a story is filled with great climaxes, wonderful surprises, and gripping characters many readers have grown to love or hate.
Well, the roller coaster ride is over. The series is finished. And wow, what a ride it was.

Considering that Baker had about eight different factions (I'm not 100% sure how many, I kept losing track) all making plans for what would happen at the moment of Silence, I am highly impressed by the way she brought everything together and made it all fit together.

In a way, the solution was startlingly simple after all the machinations involved in getting there. I sort of feel like it should have been a little anti-climatic, but it wasn't. Instead, we slipped neatly into the resolution and fitted there rather nicely.

The main story of Mendoza and her men continues apace. I was terribly worried about Edward and what he was going to do by the end of the previous book, and again, Baker works out a neat solution. At it's topmost level, there's a little bit of a 'squick factor' in what she does, so I was very impressed with the way she made everything fall into place. This all led to a most delightful epilogue of a few paragraps that really summed up Mendoza's "happy ending". (And the opportunity this provides to totally disconcert Joseph was a delight.)

I also thought the reason for the Silence, once we found out what it was, was so beautifully simple it was totally brilliant.

I did get a little lost at one point, but as it was the moment when she jumped from "science" to "super science" I'm willing to take the blame myself and say that my brain failed to make the jump with the author. I still got the whole drift of where she was going and I'm happy with that, but I'm sure I missed some nice subtleties. However, give me a few years and I'm sure I'll be reading the series again (if I can get my grubby little paws on copies of the earlier books) so hopefully it will make more sense then. I find that that is usually the case for me.

I also found myself reading this book in small snippets instead of digesting in whole in one big gulp as I did with the earlier volumes. I think this was a combination of two thing - my health at the time and the fact I didn't want the story to end almost exactly as much as I wanted to find out the end of it. This didn't hurt my reading at all and I enjoyed my progress through the book and the ending.

So even if I did get a little confused for a bit, The Sons of Heaven got fully marks from me and the series as a whole would get a very solid 9/10 from this satisfied reader.

The Sons of Heaven
Kage Baker

As a reminder and guide, the full series is:
In the Garden of Iden
Sky Coyote
Mendoza in Hollywood
The Graveyard Game
The Life of the World to Come
The Children of the Company
The Machine's Child
The Sons of Heaven

There are also two books of short stories - Black Projects, White Knights and Gods and Pawns. All the stories are fun, but I feel the only one you really need to read to help the series make sense is Welcome to Olympus, Mr Hearst in Gods and Pawns.

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