Review: Path of Revenge by Russell Kirkpatrick (Orbit)

Title: Path of Revenge
Author: Russell Kirkpatrick
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 7 August 2008
Review Copy

In my Contains Spoliers post on Path of Revenge I said there was a danger with multiple threads that the reader looses interest in one more of them, well in this case I lost interest in all of them, which is a shame as there was a lot of promise at the start.

Path of Revenge is a series of quests. The object of the quests seems to ultimately (and in a few books time) to end at the Undying Man who has ruled for 2000 years and Husk manipulating events so that these quests culminate in his revenge against the Undying Man. The problem though is it really isn’t clear. The three threads seem so aimless. They wander around for too long and they get trusted assistance too easily. And because of the descriptions of place are detailed and the characters movement between places is so mundane it’s as if nothing happens for pages at a time.

This is a real shame as the central story and its history seems interesting and Kirkpatrick has thought it out but even he seems to loose interest towards the end of book one, which isn’t really an end as things fizzle out rather than explode, probably because he’s aiming at the long haul but I need a climax to carry me on.

As much as I liked Stella (Queen), Lenares (Cosmographer) and Neotos (Fisherman) I don’t have that need to know what happens to them as I don’t have a clear idea of what the point of the last 600 pages has been. The revelations that I was expecting didn’t really happen and in one scene where a revelation really should have been clear as crystal you’re left guessing at what second sun is burning and what secret is revealed between character but not shared with the reader.

There are nice moments. Most of them at the beginning when each character is ‘home’ and the concentration is on them rather than the place and you get to know each of them. I’m not sure that Kirkpatrick has the skills to keep everything under control. It’s as if he’s drawing the lines between numbers and missing the bigger picture.

I guess that Kirkpatrick wanted it to be an immersive experience but really I was left wanting to get them to get a move on that combined with anti-climactic ending meant that I’ve got little motivation to see them wander for another potential 1200 pages.

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