When mirror twins Seth and Hadrian Castillo travel to Europe on holidays, they don't expect the end of the world to follow them. Seth's murder, however, puts exactly that into motion. From opposite sides of death, the Castillo twins grapple with a reality neither of them suspected, although it has been encoded in myths and legends for millennia. The Earth we know is just one of many "realms", three of which are inhabited by humans during various stages of their lives...and their afterlives.
In the tradition of Philip Pullman and Ursula K. Le Guin and inspired by numerous arcane sources, the "Books of the Cataclysm" begin in the present world but soon propel the reader to a landscape that is simultaneously familiar and fantastic.
©2004 Sean Williams (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
This must be one of the very few audiobooks that I simply cannot get into or finish. After a superb start it simply turns freakish (apologies to those who enjoyed the book).
I've only read it part-way, but it seems the only 3 humans are the three teenagers who are there from the start. The rest are outlandish monsters I don't have enough interest to try and imagine. The living are under threat, the dead are under threat, and so is every being in higher, lower, or in-between zones. All constantly under threat. And its all so other-worldly that it feels like a chaos of confusion heading for decimation and destruction.
I love books about fantasy and magic, and have probably been thoroughly spoilt by Patrick Rothfuss' wonderfully and warmly human "The Name of the Wind" and its sequels. (Cant wait for the fourth book in the series!) But there's a difference between imagination and hallucination. I need some of what Sean Williams takes before I can digest this particular offering.
It's quite a trip. Both in terms of the story and the moments that make you say, "What was the author on and is there any left?" It is hard to talk about the novel without spoilers, as the story takes twists right from the start. We quickly go from Non-fiction self discovery to Crime Drama to Otherworldly Fantasy. The multiverse created for the story is wonderful, the beings we meet are unique and alien, and the author also includes a good amount of human drama. The dynamics of the twins works well, most of all since the physically weaker twin is in the physical world while the less imaginative twin is forced into the spiritual world. This book even manages to have a love triangle that did make me twitch, which is quite an accomplishment on its own.
However the book is not without issues. The ending is a little Deus ex Machina. You aren't sure that anything the main characters did mattered other than getting from location x to location y, and again, you aren't really sure they played much of a role in that accomplishment. The book ends up being more of a tour than a story. The conclusion is very unsatisfying and while I know the story continues in the next book, that’s not a good excuse for a weak ending. Also, the characters are not always fleshed out well, and so caring about any death in the story is difficult. The traitor in the group is predictable because of how the author tries to hide them. These weakness really do hurt the ability to enjoy the world the author has created.
I'm not sure if I'll continue the series. It will take a back burner while I read some things on my "must" list.
As for the performance, Eric Michael Summerer was good, but not overly so. However, I do think he helped the story along.
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