Mike (the Paladin)'s Reviews > The Golden City

The Golden City by John Twelve Hawks
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's review
Apr 05, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: fantasy, urban-fantasy, science-fiction, skimmed
Read from April 05 to 19, 2010

I was a little torn on how to rate this book...I liked the first 2 volumes of this trilogy. The ideas in it are relevant to the world we live in and their discussion appealed to me. Like many I see individual liberties being eroded as "we" individuals give our freedom away so we can be "protected" and "taken care of"...("They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin). I am someone who believes strongly in every right listed in the Bill of Rights and have watched the erosion of our freedom with great concern. The passing of the "so called" Patriot act with hardly a murmur from conservative political voices, the talk of a National ID card from news commentators in a "ho-hum" attitude should scare us all to death ("Dangerous laws created by well intentioned people today can be used by dangerous people with evil intentions tomorrow." Alan Eppers)

The earlier books discussion of Bentham's Panopticon and how all of society is coming more and more to be based on that model is fascinating. In this book the application of the "virtual panopticon" gets "off the ground", sort of.

Unfortunately this last book is not up to the same standard as the first. John Twelve Hawks (whoever he may be) has managed to take an interesting idea and muddle it into a sort of conglomerate of Buddhist mysticism and cosmology, new age thought, near future science fiction and conspiracy theory...all built around some characters who have suddenly become one dimensional and speak with almost identical narrative voice(s). The dialogue is relatively flat and a bit preachy.

As I said, I liked Traveler and felt "okay" about The Dark River (though now I can see things "beginning to go downhill" noticeably in that volume) but found this last volume of the Fourth Realm trilogy, The Golden City, less than satisfying. There was once when I put the book down with no intention of going back to it. The narrative got dry and uninteresting, I didn't/couldn't care about the characters (even though I had in the earlier volumes). While there was a lot going on, it just wasn't very interesting. I finally decided I wanted to get to the ending, so some skimming later, I finished. The answer about Michael and Gabriel's father, Gabriel's "lecture" over the worldwide net, the finial confrontation between the brothers, all "okay". Not by any means great, satisfying, or what could have been. I found the book disappointing and not at all memorable.

1 star...no plans to reread the series.

I find this exceptionally disappointing as the first volume of this series had something that was in it's way almost magic. That magic was never recaptured in the two later books (in my opinion of course). Sadly disappointing and very much a case of, again in my opinion, "might have been".
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