Čtyři Poslední Věci (2011)
Čtyři poslední věci (2011)
3.54 of 5 Votes: 3
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In this sequel to The Left Hand of God, we follow the tales of Thomas Cale, Vague Henri and Kleist. Thomas Cale, now seen as The Left Hand of God or The Angel of Death, is still in service to the Redeemers whos mantra, the last four things - Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell - represent eternal bliss or endless destruction, permanent chaos and infinite pain. Cale is told that his destiny is to bring about the destruction of mankind and undo God's greatest mistake.Redeemer Bosco, Cales mentor cum slaver, has his sights on the papacy and so begins a series of seriously bloody and violent events in order to ensure that the target remains plausible. Cale builds an army of disavowed Purgators, Redeemers awaiting a death sentence for crimes unknown and one of whom turns out to be Vague Henri, and is sent on Boscos errands of misery. Kleist on the other hand has run off and joined a band of thieves in the hills, gets wed and settles down, or so he thinks as the Redeemers aren't done with him yet either.I really enjoyed reading The Left hand of God and this is no different. The Redeemers are just as insane, the Materazzi just as haughty, the political intrigues possibly even more Machiavelian, the violence just as bloody and the dark humour still as, well, dark.The characters from the first book, or at least the survivors, get a bit more flesh and background and we also meet a few more interesting peoples here too; The Folk, The Laconics and the Klephts; all of whom have their own stories.Sure, it's a middle book of a trilogy where you know things won't come to and ending but it's still a very enjoyable read and I'm certainly planning on the reading The Beating of His Wings soon. This is book two in this series and I read book 1 a fairly long time ago (maybe 3 or so years) so it did take me a while to get back into this book and remember who all of the characters were and where we had left the storyline.This is the story of a young boy called Thomas Cale. Cale is a boy who has been raised in a Redeemer (like monks) Sanctuary and he has lived a very dark, horrific life at the hands of one Redeemer named Bosco. Bosco, like all Redeemers, believes that punishment is the answer and therefore Cale is used to very little food, horrific beatings and a generally terrible way of life from his younger years.Book 1 follows Cale as he encounters something he really should never have seen and has to decide if there is a way for him to escape the horrors of the Redeemer Sanctuary and find a new life elsewhere.This book follows what has happened after a rather terrible chain of events in book 1 and focusses mostly on Cale as a leader of a huge army. There is a lot of tactical strategy and innermost contemplation and the story has a large basis in a rather twisted and cruel faith, the Redeemer faith. The character that Cale has become over the course of the two books is so very menacing and scary at times that it's really quite hard to tell just whether he is a good or a bad character and still I can't say for sure... I hope he's good, but he's certainly got flaws beyond belief due to how he was raised.Cale has gained recognition since book 1 and he has grown into something which almost resembles a monster. He is charged by Bosco to take over he Redeemer army and defeat every enemy around (which, because of Bosco's constant military testing and beatings when he was younger) he has been groomed for his whole life and is certainly proficient enough to manage, despite everyone being an enemy to the Redeemers. Vague Henri and Kleist are two of Thomas Cale's friends from within the Sanctuary too. They are featured a lot in book 1 and they have smaller, but still important roles in book 2. Kleist is a hard character who likes to look out only for himself. He and Cale are friends more through default than through choice and this is certainly evident in book 2. However Kleist strays away from the other characters pretty quickly in this story and meets a clan of people, the Klephts, who are so unusual in their way of life and fighting technique that I just couldn't help but love them. I also loved the emotion and raw feelings which we saw from Kleist as a result of this as he grows a lot as a character and I feel like in book 3 he will certainly become a better and more prominent character.Vague Henri, so called due to his vague answers, is a much more loving companion to Cale (if still rather flawed in character). He is a loyal follower and a kind-hearted soul when he sees people being treated unfairly. He has just as much loathing for the Redeemers as the other two, but he still has room in his heart to find goodness and he can be the counterbalance to the hatred within Cale a lot of the time which was interesting to see. He's a gentle character and his loyalty is certainly tested a lot in this story, but he is true to his friend and I think he's the most human of the three.Bosco is a very dark and mysterious character in this book, but maybe a little less menacing than in book 1 as he seems to give more reasoning behind his actions here and we learn a lot about why everything happened as it did in book 1 and what that was all leading up to. He is a meticulous and cunning character who has been plotting for years about what to do with Cale and how to use him as his pawn boy and now is the time to 'unleash him on the world'. Bosco certainly gives us some insight into the political systems of the Redeemers (being a fairly high-up Redeemer himself) and helps Cale (and us) to understand some of the ways and things that have been done whilst he lived and before he was around in order to lead up to this moment in time. Certainly a nasty character whom you would not want to meet!There are three main people discussed in this book and all of them are engaged in a long-standing and seemingly never-ending battle for power and dominance over the others, until Cale comes along that is. The Materazzi are the people who are discussed the most and focussed upon the most within The Left Hand of God, book 1, and they are a strange people who value honour above all else and who are obsessed with personal image and being proficient fighters. They are a noble breed and the fight strong, but in the end are they a match for the Redeemers??Then we have the Redeemers themselves. They worship God, but they have a very different belief system to that of Christians or other faiths in our world, they believe in the darker forms of punishment and any wrongdoing or disobedience is instantly punished. Executions are very common among their own people and they love a good display of the dead. They are just as conniving and evil towards one another as they are untied against other non-Redeemers. They are dark, fighters and very stuck in their religion but without a leader they are at a stalemate in the war...Finally we have the Laconics who are another race of people who are looked down upon greatly by the other two races. They are known to do terrible sexual acts with the young boys that they raise and they are considered by the Redeemers in particular to be disgusting and blasphemous and they must be removed. They are indeed a very grim people and they do have some rather dark qualities surrounding their ideas.The general plot of this book follows the struggle of Cale trying to defeat these other races of people for the Redeemers (or maybe for himself, we never really know his true intentions) but there is actually not all that much in the way of progression through the storyline. Instead of a long journey or a lot of things happening all over the place, Thomas is central to the action and the focus is placed far more highly on the discovery of the inner workings of the Redeemers, the political suspicions involved and the inner turmoil that Cale faces when addressing the ideas taught to him by his faith. This is much more of a character-driven and thought-provoking book than a big adventure, but it's still a very good book. The only reason I gave this a 3.5* rating instead of 4* or 5*s was because I would rate The Left Hand of God (book 1) as a 4* book and this one doesn't have quite as much action as that in terms of plot so I didn't like it quite as much (but I think that the third one will lead to something very big and exciting). This is left on a cliffhanger, so I will need to get onto book 3 fairly soonish and see what happens! :)
Just more of the same, repeatedly. I won't read the 3rd & barely made it through this one.
Disappointing after such a great first book! Occasional brilliance though..
Just couldnt get into it, sadly
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