or SOMETHING WICCAN THIS WAY COMES (Half/Life Chronicles, Book Five)
This time out, Chris Csejthe is racing against (and across) time to save the Multiverse from the Army of Darkness that is starting to leak through the Dread Dimensional portal known as Pandora’s Box. He’s already lost everyone that he loves and holds dear and is in a very bad place, himself. Still, he saddles up for one last campaign that will team him with witches and divinities, weres and vamps, allies divine and profane, associates dead and even deader…dodging a collision of Greek and Norse mythologies (not to mention the IRS) as he bodyguards humanity’s last, best hope for holding Eternal Night at bay. A truly explosive conclusion to the five book series of one man’s journey into Darkness and then back into the Light as God’s Sword…or, maybe Swiss Army Knife…Boxcutter; that’s it: God’s Holy Boxcutter…
Simmons concludes his HalfLife Chronicles (after Dead Easy, which many readers assumed was the series ending) with a snappy, snarky, and surprisingly emotional grand finale that blends characters from weird fiction, gothic tales, and mythology into one fun, if crowded, universe. Christopher Csejthe has seen it all since becoming a half-vampire and opening After Dark Investigations. After losing everyone he loves more than once, he’s suffering deep depression. But when an attack nearly kills him, Chris wakes up in a strange alternate present to discover he has become unstuck in time and chosen to serve as bodyguard for a coven of witches. Their mission: to protect the world from the chain-reaction of devastation unleashed by the detonation of the atomic bomb spawned by the Manhattan Project in 1945. But will this newest escapade save Chris from his own personal hell, or unleash Armageddon? Though the tone is light and comically cynical, Simmons doesn’t downplay the gravity of the history in his tale, making this a tense and gripping story that is sure to please series fans.
What’s scarier, supernatural monsters out to kill you (again), or the IRS looking into your connection to Dracula? ChristopherCsejthe, a half-vampire on his third death, is thrust into yet another adventure, with the added twist that he’s unstuck in time in the company of a full-blooded vampire, a werewolf, a witch, an FBI agent, and a surly teenage girl. Simmons (The Dreamland Chronicles) combines sf and fantasy with travel to parallel universes and Greek and Norse mythologies (and their monsters), and creates humor with a light, cheeky tone that comes through in Chris’s interactions with other characters. Danger also finds Chris and his team of unlikely heroes frequently, and their encounters with monsters can be confusing, as can the complexity of the scenes and Chris’s habit of nicknaming multiple enemies. Captivating surprises throughout makes this difficult to put down. VERDICT Despite a slow start, the fifth “Halflife Chronicles” novel (after Dead Easy) quickly turns into a fast-paced read packed with adventure, mystery, and its fair share of sarcasm. Good for teen and adult fans of Jim Butcher and those looking for a new take on sf/fantasy.
—Jackie Watkins, Kennesaw State Univ. Lib., GA