OK, if you are tired of seeing reviews for Brian Rathbone’s Godsland books, you may heave a sigh of relief. This is the last one he has published (so far), and it brings my binge reading to an end.
Unlike the previous two trilogies, the Artifacts of Power trilogy seems to be designed so you can leave one book and jump directly into the next without a break in the flow of the story. Literally, this one picks up from where the last one leaves off. With unexpected consequences right in the first paragraph.
Everyone who has held an important role in the previous books has been gathered in one place, but now the alliances begin to fracture and the unity fragments. Some of this is from unexpected discoveries, some from the enforced reliance upon each other for the sake of survival. Dragonhold has become a death trap, and everyone is trying to figure out how to get out before it all comes tumbling down on them. Some seek those answers in the manuscripts and scrolls that have been carefully preserved hidden deep in the depths, others find answers closer to home, and the rest wait with baited breath for someone to succeed.
The feeling of frustration within the characters lends to the darkening of the story line itself. Similar to what happened with Harry Potter, I would not be surprised to start seeing characters that have become well loved friends start dying because of poorly thought out decisions, or because fate just wasn’t playing fairly any longer. The sense of rushing headlong on a crash course with oblivion becomes more pronounced too, and something that was mentioned in an earlier book comes back to mind now, as this book draws to a close. I won’t tell, you’ll have to go read for yourself to find it.
The growth of the new generation of hero(ine)s in this book is phenomenal. Most of them have had the teen angst knocked out of them. They may not have matured enough to know how to ask others for help, but at least now they know they may need to ask others for help. The other surprisingly pleasant turn of events is that Rathbone is easing the cultures into growth too. I have seen a few instances in the past when authors have attempted to do this. Usually without believable results. Brian seems to have a wonderfully light hand in introducing new technologies into the world – either through the use of old, barely understood manuscripts (with appropriately humorous results) or through extensions of what is currently in use, just repurposed. Godsland seems to be headed full steam into the steampunk age, and there are a few of the characters we’ve met whom I would strongly recommend be kept OUT of the exploration of the new technologies. Sadly, those same characters are the ones who are pushing the boundaries, and helping to usher in the new age.
Overall, I happily give this one a resounding 5 out of 5 stars, and wish I could give it more. Well done! Now, when is the next book due out?