Like most people following the Demon Cycle series, I was hanging out for this latest instalment, especially given the cliff-hanger inflicted upon us in the finale of The Daylight War. And like many people following the series, I wanted more time with Arlen and Jardir. Sadly, The Skull Throne delivers little on this front.
Yes, I gobbled up this book. Yes, lots happens. However, the book’s central focus is firmly on Krasian politics and the war for control of the north. Ultimately, however, I’m far more interested in the war with demonkind and The Skull Throne doesn’t advance this particular arc by much.
Brett is to be commended for allowing some of his core characters to be dispatched, but the pacing of the story is such that the remaining characters seem to grieve little for their loss and I must confess that I felt much the same. What started out as a tightly focused fantasy story (i.e. Arlen’s struggle to survive and to end the demon threat) has become an epic tale and has lost much of its intimacy along the way
The next instalment – provisionally titled The Core – promises to get the story back to the heart of the matter. In all the ensuing action, I hope Mr. Brett remembers that it’s his characters that we’re truly interested in, not impressively choreographed sharukin fight scenes.
Overall, 3.5 stars but I’m going to round down to 3.