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Title: A Path to Coldness of Heart
Series: Last Chronicle of the Dread Empire #3
Author: Glen Cooke
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
The world has come as close as it ever has to having some peace, so obviously the Star Rider will stir things up. However, due to him having been so visible in the last 50 years, the main characters on the stage all know about him, from The Dread Empire to the King without a Throne to Bragi to Varthlokkur.
Mist, queen of the Dread Empire, secretly assembles a cast of people all presumed to be dead who have had interactions with the Star Rider. They begin a massive plot to take him down, all along parallel tracks not connected so that if one plot fails, another may get through.
This involves a whole new generation of people and we get hints of horrible things the Star Rider has actually been keeping contained for the world’s safety. The plotters succeed and the tale peters out.
While there is a book of short stories still left in the Dread Empire saga, this was pretty much the wrapup to the overall story. Except it didn’t really wrap anything up, it just “ended” while introducing the vague new threats the world would have to face and vaguely introducing the next set of people to face those threats. Cook seems to revel in showing the heroes growing old and failing in one way or another.
And here’s my biggest caveat about this book. We are introduced to a minor wizard who is, for all intents and purposes, a pedophile. He’s into pre-pubescent girls and while its made clear nothing is done against their will, the whole idea is abhorrent and Cook makes it out to be “just another thing”. I don’t think I’ve seen that before in any of his books and if I do come across it again, that’ll be it. The wizard is a major side character in this novel, so that keeps popping up.
Overall, it is apparent that Steven Erikson, of Malazan fame, stole much more from Cook’s Dread Empire than from his Black Company series. When I finished this book, I just felt “ehhh”. Between the pedo-wizard and the non-closure of an ending, I had to ask myself “What did I get out of this”and the answer is “not much”.
The writing is at the same level as all the previous books, so without pedo-wizard this probably would have been a 3 ½ star book, but that inclusion dropped things pretty hard. I do plan on reading the collection of short stories to truly wrap up the Dread Empire series and then I have to decide what of Cook’s writings I want to read next. I’ve got one or two trilogies/short series and then his much longer Garrett, PI urban fantasy series. I’m thinking of holding off on Garrett just because me and Urban Fantasy don’t get along for the most part. Ahh well, that is months away, plenty of time to make up my mind and change it several times too!
- An Ill Fate Marshalling (Book 2)
- Reap the East Wind (Book 1)
- Dread Empire: A Cruel Wind 1-3
- Dread Empire: A Fortress in Shadow 1-2