Author: Paul Hoffman
ARC: 420 pages
Publisher: Penguin, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
When we last saw Thomas Cale, he'd just gone through battle and heartbreak, then was handed over to the Redeemer who made Cale's life at the Sanctuary positively miserable. He learns that Redeemer Bosco actually has a plan for him--to mold him into the Angel of Death. And as it happens, so far Cale has been pretty darn good at bringing chaos and ruin wherever he goes...
Now, to say that Cale is an evil mastermind is completely overstating it--he's just had a combination of (mostly) bad luck and overconfident ego. Which doesn't change in The Last Four Things... He's still a cocky teenager, only now he has the Redeemers behind him. He's still furious at Arbell's betrayal--though what else was she to do? And he's still a teenager, thumbing his nose at the Redeemers when he doesn't think they'll get it, and even sometimes when they do.
So then are we surprised that calamity and glory meet Cale in equal increments in this sequel? Why, of course not.
I expected Cale to do a little growing up here. Yes, I know he's had fifteen years of indoctrination by the Redeemers, but he's had time--and he's smart enough--to figure out that not everything they say is truth. So I was a little disappointed when he mostly reverts to his former self (though he's verbal now) and nurses resentments that he might not if he'd just grow up a little...
There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor in The Last Four Things, as well as a lot of needless bloodshed. Of course, all bloodshed is needless (in my opinion), but even more so when it's the result of mostly stupid actions. As my little man will tell you, I do not like stupid. Excessive stupidity even less so. And while I enjoyed the overall plot I did wonder where all the smart people went.
drey's rating: OK
Want to know where the author got the idea for this alternative world?
Much of this trilogy was inspired by the author’s own life, which he quips is “like a realistic fairy tale or bad Hollywood film.” Born in a house with no running water or electricity, Paul Hoffman grew up as the impoverished son of a British soldier and saw his first violent death at the impressionable age of four. Later, Hoffman was enrolled at a severe Catholic boarding school. What he learned could barely be considered an education, but it would later provide him with the foundation for the theology of The Sanctuary and the ruthlessness of The Redeemers featured in THE LEFT HAND OF GOD trilogy.
The publisher has very graciously offered up a copy of The Last Four Things for you, if you live in the US. To enter, fill out the form below before 6pm CST August 10th. Good luck!