Wednesday 9 January 2013

The Last Days (The Tree of Life Book 3) - Steven Smith

Title: The Last Days (The Tree of Life Book 3)
Author: Steven Smith
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2012
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
Amazon UK
Lulu (Ebook Here)

“The Last Days” by Steven Smith is the third book in his “The Tree of Life” fantasy trilogy that started with the novel “The Map of the Known World” which I previously reviewed here. As with most reviews on sequels I need to warn people that this review is likely to obtain minor spoilers to what occurred in the other novels. Therefore I would advise anyone new to the trilogy should read my review of the first book and then decide if they want to give it a try.

This book continues the adventures of Elowen Aubyn, who is still on a quest to discover the three remaining artefacts that will help her finally locate the Tree of Life and defeat the dictatorial Prester John. She continues her journey across land and sea, meeting new people and creatures, all the time trying to ensure she does not become corrupted by her own magical abilities. In addition, the young prince Bo must step up to the plate and lead an army of both men and Eldar against Prester John in the hope that alongside Elowen, they can finally end the tyranny that has befallen the world.

I enjoyed the return to this rather dark fantasy world and found myself hooked as I followed the story to its satisfying conclusion. Smith continues to use his setting well to create an adventure story that is full of action and intrigue, but also tries to show the power of hope and friendship. In regards to the characters, Prince Bo continued to be a character I found interesting and couldn’t help but cheer on as he tried to do the right thing whilst facing his own doubts and fears.

Whilst I did enjoy the book I have to say that it is probably the weakest in the whole series. The reason I say this is that Smith has tried to pack so much into this novel in an attempt to complete the trilogy that some of the overall detail has been lost. It felt like we were just jumping from one event to another without any real exposition or further development of the characters.

I want to add that one element of the novel I also appreciated was the inclusion of a brief synopsis of what occurred in the previous books in the series. There have been many times in the past that I have read multi book series and by the time a book would come out my memory of what had was fading and I struggled to remember everything that had occurred. So it was nice being able to pick up a book and reading a few pages at the beginning to help refresh my memory.

Overall, it was a nice conclusion to the series with everything tied up in a manner that any follower of the series should be able to appreciate. Whilst I think it may have been better to see this story spread across two novels in greater depth, there was still enough there to keep me interested and I always struggled to put it down at the end of the day. So if you have read the other novels I would go out and pick this one up as soon as possible. If you haven’t even started the trilogy then I advise you go and try it out because it is an enjoyable experience and unlike many Fantasy series out there this one has an ending!


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