And so we... wait, what?
was close to being one of my favorite series of all time. According to the author, what we now know as The Pendragon Adventure
was originally conceived as a series of standalone adventures... but now, with The Soldiers of Halla
as its denouement and conclusion, I kind of wish they had stayed that way.
I was with it for the first nine. I could gladly go into more detail with more room, but let me just say that they were good, carefully written, and that when I turned to audiobooks due to extenuating circumstances, William Dufris is scary
when he wants to be. You may know him better as Bob the Builder. It was all going so well.
Then The Soldiers of Halla
came along. It answers all of the series' mysteries close to the beginning, which at least puts it ahead of the pretentious (a word which here means... oh, never mind) "ending" of A Series Of Unfortunate Events
. After a philosophically uncomfortable but promising beginning, it goes on pretty well for most of the story, though since it deals with multiple Travelers on different Territories, it feels a bit like we're missing out. Even so, it's on par with other Pendragon
fare, with some twists.
And then comes the ending. Not just to the book, but to the whole ten-book adventure. It manages to combine a rushed, unsatisfying conclusion, anticlimax, and a resolution that doesn't even work
within the established rules of the series. And
it's not very happy. (A few hours later, Fridge Horror
about Quillan kicked in. That kept me up for a few hours and I don't think it was supposed to.) Everything this series has been building up to lurches and falls to pieces.
Here's the deal. If you're one of those readers who can just ignore a bad ending, throw it into Dis Continuity
and continue merrily along and/or take refuge in your own or someone else's made-up canon
— believe me, there's potential here, though it would take another novel to do it justice — nine-tenths of Pendragon
is a fun, well-written ride. Unfortunately, it all crumbles where a satisfying ending should (and, I believe, could) have been.
If The Soldiers of Halla
was a turning point, I think Saint Dane just won.