Age of Misrule-Mark Chadbourn (World's End, Darkest Hour, Always Forever)
novel, fantasy series
The world of the Celtic mythologies and Arthurian legends return to our modern day England. Dreadful creatures called Formorii, shape shifting nausea inducing hive mind warriers, want to wipe out the world while the Celtic gods may not be gods and they have their own agendas. Five ordinary people are told they are the Brothers and Sisters of the Dragon by a sixth human who was born in medieval Scotland and oh, yes, they have to save the world while acquiring many powers innate in them.
I read all three books of this series in the same physical edition and it took me an embarrassing amount of time to realize that it was published in three parts, not as the 1000+pg beast I held in my hand so I am reviewing them all together.
Well. I have so many feelings about this trilogy that I'm not entirely sure where to start. I did really enjoy it, finished it in tears, but you know, there were so many flaws.
I so enjoyed the myths and fairytales as allegories-the connections made are delightful-in a world where they held the germs of the truth needed to navigate this new England as the fairies and dragons emerge into the real world once again and our technology disappears slowly. I thought the end of the world was handled really realistically which is something strange to be writing about a fantasy/science fiction series. It really was though-the secrecy, the generosity, the uncertainty, the living in the moment-all rang true. The fantasy battle scenes drove me crazy though-I'm actually not into big massive fantasy battles though so this is possibly just a personal pet peeve but when the swords do the fighting for you without any actual hard work I get cranky.
I loved the characters though. They were all flawed in just the right ways and sound bewildered, just like my friends and I do when we talk about how we're adults(o.O)...except that of course, the 5 in this book are finding out they're Brothers and Sisters of the Dragon and therefore the heroes of the land. But somehow, they traverse huge tracts of land in what seems like too little time while also doing really hard stuff. Chadbourn gives them a few days of recovery time here and there but seriously, sometimes it seemed like they'd driven and fought their way from the Highlands to the Peaks in less than the time it took me to take a train from Glasgow to Sheffield this summer-no technological failures along the way. Still, the bond they form (along with their guide-the 6th main character) is unmistakably real even as they become superhuman.
I'm a sucker for maritime fantasy books so when this showed up in the final book (?), I was delighted and rewarded. But then Chadbourn adds in these totally annoying and completely unnecessary hints that maybe this is all in Church's head and I grimaced so hard my friend asked if I was ok. I hesitate to recommend this series whole heartedly.
I enjoyed it despite the flaws but I also couldn't take it too seriously...