Lisa's Reviews > The Last Page

The Last Page by Anthony Huso
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's review
Aug 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012
Read from July 14 to August 05, 2012

(3.5 stars)

(originally reviewed on Starmetal Oak Reviews)

I’m not sure where to start with this one. There’s a lot going on in The Last Page. Let me start by saying I didn’t expect it to be this kind of fantasy, one with very dark magic, zeppelins, industrialization and politics. Huso really takes plenty of time developing his world and setting up the stakes for the story. Not a whole lot of the novel was spent directly on the main plot – that of the civil war within Stonehold and how its king, Caliph Howl manages it. Of course, there’s a major side plot with his girlfriend, Sena, who is a trained witch trying to open a legendary magical book. There were some parts I thought were unnecessary, such as the very long introduction of Caliph and Sena as students at school. That seems so far away now that I’ve read the whole book and I wonder if it was really important.

Anyways, I thought the world building was really good. It takes place in a world with kings, princes and warring nations much like traditional fantasy settings. However, there’s a lot of industrialization and I’m hesitant to call it steampunk because there isn’t really a Victorian/alternate history part to it. But there are zeppelins, advanced technologies and harsh conditions such as the need to create a sort of factory farming to feed the masses. There’s also magic, called holomorphy, which uses words, numbers and blood to cast. It’s a dark magic and I really liked the imagery involved and the real consequences to using it.

Now, about the characters. I liked Caliph. He inherits the throne to Stonehold and yet he really doesn’t want it. He spends a lot of time complaining how he doesn’t want it but by the end, he really embraces his role. Sena, trained as a Shradnae witch, goes against her fellow witches in search of a book said to contain powerful magic. Sena is a strong, capable woman and her romance with Caliph is true and yet she never depends on him. She holds her own in the story. However, she really is the only woman who has any real role. For about the first half of the book, there are other witches but I felt they were only there to show Sena’s backstory and eventually their storyline is kind of faded out. I would have liked more women in the novel and for them not to have been villains.

Overall, I really, really liked the world building, the darkness and the twists and turns of the story. It was slow and hindered by the use of a lot of made up words but I definitely found myself drawn back to it. As a debut, I found it to be good while there were some reservations about the female characters. The sequel is out in a couple weeks, called Black Bottle, and I will return to Stonehold to find out where the author takes the story.

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07/26/2012 page 57
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