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The Godless World Trilogy is one of those series that has both its good points and its bad. On the plus side, it is breathtakingly written. The characters are intricate and realistic, the plot is well-thought out and fast paced, and the world is brilliantly realised. Psychology and human interaction are handled in a very believable manner, and the series has an epic feel to it that many authors fail to achieve. As a piece of writing, the series is brilliant.
What's the downside? The downside is that this series is the literary equivalent of Batman Returns. It's dark. It's miserable. And above all, it's fundamentally mean-spirited. Ruckley puts every character in series, hero and villain, through an utter hell, and never lets up. Every character is subjected to utter torture by the plot, with many of them, including the hero, slowly collapsing under the weight of the horrors they've experienced. Aeglyss and Orisian are perhaps the two most spectacular examples. Orisian starts out as an unwanted son, and by the end is a borderline Empty Shell who can only throw away his life in one of the saddest, least awe-inspiring Heroic Sacrifices in modern literature. Aeglyss, is so dysfunctional, damaged, and screwed up, that his attempts at ending the world are not only pitiable but almost understandable. All of his interactions with other characters are agonising to read, as his misery and anger sabotage his entire life. By the end, almost every character is dead, or psychologically crippled.
Would I recommend this book? Definitely. It is one of the most impressive works of fantasy fiction I have come accross in years. But expect to finish it feeling burned out, angry at the author, and possibly contemplating suicide and/or burning the book. It is a great work of art, but definitely isn't for everyone, or even most people. For the select few who like that kind of story though, read on. You're in for a treat.
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