After slogging through its predecessor over a matter of weeks, I tore through Always Forever (the last in the Age of Misrule trilogy) in just two days, although this had more to do with wanting to read the tower of books I got for Crimbo than with how much I was enjoying it. To be fair, I did enjoy this one more than the Darkest Hour, but it never quite got back to the same level as the opener, World’s End.
We left Darkest Hour with everything having gone pretty wrong. With the deaths of two of its members, our five is no more – meaning they no longer have the power to defend humanity against Balor and his Fomorii forces. But it seems that for the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, the normal rules don’t apply, and that being dead doesn’t mean that you won’t get better. So while Ruth and Church hitch a ride on a fairy ship to Tir n’a N’og to cleanse the taint of the Kiss of Frost from Church’s blood, Veitch and Tom get their own side missions as they try to get the gang back together.
The side missions are a good thing, as it meant that we get breaks from the seemingly neverending boat ride taken by Church and Ruth. While this was no doubt important to the final resolution of the story, even the amount of mythical beings thrown at us as other boat passengers didn’t do much to make me want to spend as much time there as we did. I’ve always hated the character of Laura, and her quick character change following her death didn’t really feel particularly earned, while the amount of anvilicious foreshadowing that had peppered the preceding books about betrayal from within the group meant that the final reveal of the traitor was a bit of a damp squib.
On the plus side, while it felt a little rushed, I did enjoy the final depiction of Balor and the fate of Church, and there were again some nice little moments every now and then. They just weren’t quite enough to make the books live up to their initial promise.