Today's book review is The Scourge of God by S. M. Stirling.
This is a direct sequel to The Sunrise Lands and the next book in the ongoing Change series. It picks up from the cliffhanger ending of The Sunrise Lands. I would definitely not recommend trying to jump into the middle of this. At the other end, we're still in the middle of the ongoing story, and it's frustrating to have to stop, but it's a much less extreme cliffhanger ending than the last one or some of Steve's other books. Quite a lot of graphic violence. A little bit of sex.
This is still very much the same engaging world as the previous Change novels. The story and the characters hold my attention very thoroughly, and I enjoy the world quite a lot even as I find it hard to keep track of all the threads of the plot and who the minor characters are, and even as I find the graphic violence stretching my tolerance. Between the knee deep in gore battle scenes there's some deeper exploration of some of the characters and quite a lot of spiritual stuff. This spiritual stuff draws on a number of different traditions and would doubtless offend followers of any of them who feel that their dogmas must be kept pure, but to anyone with an open mind, it ought to be interesting. We're getting hints of an overall story or explanation of the doings in the spiritual world that seem to make a lot of sense overall. The human story is a good rollicking quest and tightly written, but frankly there's a lot of fantasy out there; this is better than a lot of it, but the quest and the battles aren't especially original. The spiritual side of the story does have a lot of familiar aspects, but it seems to actually working its way to something more original, or at least new to me, and interesting.
8 out of 10.
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