Mark 's Reviews > The Last Four Things

The Last Four Things by Paul  Hoffman
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's review
Apr 29, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read from May 01 to 04, 2011

The Last Four Things continues the story begun in The Left Hand of God with Thomas Cale - the young man heralded as the 'Incarnation of God's Wrath' - back in the hand of the Redeemers and his erstwhile and hated master Bosco. Bosco believes that God has ordained the race of mankind to be destroyed for it's imperfection and that Cale is the instrument of the Almighty's anger.

Cale, heartbroken and disillusioned by the events in the first book, goes along with Bosco's direction as life with the Redeemers is one he understands, if not cares for. He is sent to turn the tide in the war against the Antagonists and lead Redeemer forces to victory, so that Bosco will be able to reap the rewards of his protege's successes and gain futher power. This Cale accomplishes in a typically ruthless manner.

We also follow Cale's former cronies Vague Henri and Kleist. Kleist, having abandoned his fellow Redeemers to get as far away from his former life as possible, inadvertantly saves the life of a young girl who he subsequently falls for. She brings him back to her tribe - a group of cheerfully craven bandits. Vauge Henri doggedly follows Cale in the hope that, with IdrisPukke's help, he can be made to escape the Redeemers again.

As with the first book, I am little confused with the tone. The style of narration and the prose used is both florid and knowingly sardonic. The story veers from pitch black humour to poignancy to uber-violence to ridiculous and back at breakneck speed. As with the previous installment I enjoyed the blatant potshots at the absurdity of religion which seems one of the major themes of the book.

Even more than in the first book Hoffman uses real place names to populate this world like Switzerland, The Rhine, Stuttgart and most notably for me - my hometown Leeds which is cheerfully insulted, even in a fictional world. Maybe it shouldn't be a big point but it jars me from fully enjoying the story. I get that maybe Hoffman is trying for the 'dark mirror of the real world' but Terry Pratchett manages a similar line without re-using existing names.

Having said all that I enjoyed this book immensely despite it's flaws and uneven nature.
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