The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman
While there not as many little action sequences as in the previous one, this one did have more mass violence and strategy. It felt more like a book about war, almost as if I were back at college reading about all the disturbingly creative ways people have devised over the centuries to systematically kill each other.
The Last Four Things does take the massacre and disturbing imagery farther than The Left Hand of God did. There were some people being blown to pieces, bolts raining down from the sky to kill dozens, and most gruesome of all, the almost complete annihilation of an entire envoy of women and children for the sake of making a point.
It never reaches the disgustingly gory level, if only for the couple of times we…
“reserve the right to look away“
…instead of going into detail about the most horrendous war crimes that are talked about. Because that’s what it all feels like… a series if hideous and unnecessary war crimes.
That is to say, this is most assuredly not an uplifting read. And it is definitely not for everyone. It has many religious reference that could easily be offensive for some and a heavy handed criticism of many things… from holy war and the politics withing religious institutions, to the decision-making processes of all kinds politicians or leaders and the easily swayed loyalties of people.
One of the positive things that come from all the killing and betrayal, is the seemingly reluctant friendship between two of these kids that have survived the grueling upbringing of abusive monks seeking to make ruthless soldiers out of children, Thomas Cale and Vague Henri.
They mostly don’t agree with each other’s choices and decisively tell one another all that’s wrong with their actions… but continue to follow each other to the origin of their traumas, to war, to perilous travels, and even to the middle of potentially treacherous political alliances.
What better kind of friends? Even when they keep on saying that…
“He’s not that much of a friend”
Everything seems more depressing and more uncertain after finishing the second book, so I will surely read the last one, The Beating of his Wings, if not right away.