Friday, September 19, 2008

Book Review: Agents of Light and Darkness by Simon R. Green

Didn't I just read this?

Yes, yes I did. Only that time the book's title was The Man with the Golden Torc and the hero's name was Edwin Drood.

And, therefore, retrospectively my opinion of that book also has gone down a few notches.

Both books rely on Really Tough heroes looking for Something Important which they find by visiting a series of enclaves full of nasty people doing nasty things which Hero and Heroine disrupt before moving on, eventually finding what they're looking for as much by accident as anything else.

This one, too, had a Big Reveal at the end that was something less than a revelation, though I suppose it is possible that it wasn't really meant to come as a surprise to the reader. It surprised Taylor, though, and absolutely should not have. He's a detective and he works with the supernatural all the time: Why is he stunned when Jude, the man who has asked him to find the cup Judas drank from at the Last Supper (the Unholy Grail), finally gets around to giving his real name?

The book isn't totally hopeless. The absolute, inhuman focus of the angels is chillingly portrayed, the character of Jude steals the relatively few pages he gets, and there are some odd and interesting beings peaking out of the shadows every so often.

Both this and The Man with the Golden Torc leave me thinking that Green could craft a much better world if he could stop tearing it apart for long enough to let it come into focus and/or if he'd let go of the notion that more is better. I'd really rather have one or two well developed creepy characters than the raft of barely glimpsed nasties who fall by the wayside. A few ordinary people scattered here and there wouldn't hurt.

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