Having taken a couple of weeks to slog through Darkest Hour, I’m starting to see where my rating knocked off a couple of stars in my first read through, as the breakneck pace of World’s End came almost to a complete halt, and our ‘heroes’ screwed up yet more things in their fight to save humanity.
World’s End saw Church, Veitch, Shavi, Ruth and Laura summon the Tuatha De Danaan to help them to defeat the Fomorii, only to discover that once the Tuatha were here, they really didn’t want to leave again, and nor did they feel like adjusting any Fomorii attitudes. Instead it’s up to our own Brothers and Sisters of Dragons to grow into the roles laid out for them – Church is our king, Veitch the warrior, Shavi the Shaman, Ruth is a witch, and Laura is The Worst. Aided by Tom the Expositioner (sorry, Thomas the Rhymer), they need to figure out how to stop the Fomorii from accomplishing the next part of their plan – resurrecting Balor, God of Death – and so they’re off toiling the length and breadth of Britain once more, making incredibly poor choices and generally making things worse by freeing an insanely powerful and powerfully insane fae, breaking promises to other powerful beings and getting impregnated by the destruction of us all.
The breakneck pace of World’s End was one of its highlights, so it’s a shame that things slow down so much in Darkest Hour, giving us more time spent with our characters which in turn highlights some of the book’s flaws. The characterisation is rather two dimensional and the dialogue often clichéd – especially Laura’s, who sounds like an old person’s idea of a spunky young ‘un – and huge chunks of the book are spent listening to Tom explain to everyone just what the shit is going on. There are still some great ideas and some great set-pieces within, but they do tend to be a little overshadowed by all of the explaining going on.
The best part of this book is the fate of Laura – have I mentioned that I truly hate this character yet? – and, while I’m sure she’ll rear her deeply irritating head again at some point so that she can be a spiteful little brat whose pain is the only one that matters again, I’m hopeful that the only mention of her in the next book will be Tom explaining to everyone where her grave is.