There comes a point, once your fully committed to something, that you just have to see it through. The point from which there is no coming back. Your figurative Rubicon – once crossed – you have no choice but to go on, because going back is no longer an option.
As a reader I have crossed many a Rubicon in the company of a good writer. Which is to say I have read the first book of a series and known I am going to keep reading till I have read them all. Occasionally though that has lead from great beginnings to a slow turgid death, and on occasion my love affair with a series faltered and died. the best, or perhaps worst example of this (and I could name a few) is Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series. Which has much to do with the original trilogy he planned and wrote up until the back end of the third novel, when he realized how good the sales were, being extended way beyond the original three book series he planned. I gave up around book seven and have never been back.
There have been other series which have been up and down, Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality for example, the first of which ‘On a Pale Horse’ remains one of my favorite novels, yet the series swings wildly and some of the novels are a trawl while others, in particular the last ‘And Eternity’ are a delight… (and while checking on the full list on wikipedia I just discovered Anthony has actually written a new book in the series 17 years after it ended with ‘And Eternity’ which I will now have to track down and read…)
This is often the way with a long series of books, some in a series are better than others, some are great and the reason your reading the series in the first place, and some of the books, well you just need to get through them and hope the next one gets back to the highs of the earlier books. As much as I love Stephen Kings, Dark Tower novels, I find ‘A Song For Susanna’ a trawl, but I read it anyway.
The takeaway here is that series, as a whole, have a tenancy to disappoint you at some point along the way. Often these disappointments are not enough to stop you reading the next book. Just as, to change media slightly, ‘The Phantom Menace’ didn’t stop me been thrilled when ‘Rogue One’ came out. ‘A Song for Susanna’ didn’t stop me wanting to read, and utterly devouring ‘The Dark Tower’ and later ‘The Wind through the Keyhole’ One sub-par book doesn’t put me off a series. I just accept that its the way it is and plow on (unless its The Wheel of Time…).
There are also the rare exceptions… Few and far between, but exceptions all the same. Series which set themselves a high bar, then with each successive book the writer manages the impressive feat of raising the bar all the higher. Writers who singularly fail to write there own version of ‘A Song For Susanna’, and instead manage to draw me deeper into a series with every novel. Writers who utterly fail to disappoint. Which brings me to ‘Arunday’s Convergence’ the sixth ( or if you count the two YA origins novels the eighth) inC.G.Hatton’s Thieves Guild series.
Now, it is possible that some could accuse me of bias here. C.G is a personal friend of mine, did the editing on my last two novels, and asked me to write an introduction for her collected works kindle edition on releasing the fifth/seven novel in the series ‘Darkest fears’. So you might expect me to say nice things about this novel just on the strength of that friendship. However, to lay that to rest, I have never written a ‘fluff’ review of anything and I value that friendship way too much to give anything other than my honest opinion. So what follows is just that.
With ‘Arunday’s Convergence’ C.G.Hatton is as ever on top form, raising the high bar ever higher. This book sees the return to center stage of my personal favorite of C.G’s characters Zachary Hilyer, and launches us back into the Thieves Guild universe with a blast, as ever knee deep in action and with Hil up to his neck in problems, and once the action starts the pace never drops.
Zach Hilyer is a character with so much depth. Fiercely loyal and determined, yet fragile and naive. There is a burning sense of desperation to him, a desire to be more than he is, or that he thinks of himself, that if the perfect reflection of the desperation of events in which he is embroiled.
The rich complexity of C.G’s universe rolls over you as events keep moving, yet the grand scope of it all is never lost in action. There is such depth to all this, so many interlinked lives, so many threads of plot woven into the whole, that it would be all too easy to lose sight of them within the hectic pace of the story. Yet somehow while never letting up that pace, the greater stage and the sense of Hil being merely the eye of the hurricane is never lost. Though there are no calm waters in the eye of this storm. The galaxy is in flames, humanity, faced with extinction has turned on itself, and events have moved long past the point of no return, the point from which there is no way to win.
The only problem with this novel is that when you reach the end, you left panting for breath, emotionally exhausted and waiting for the next…
As a side note, I bought my copy of this novel from amazon the day it went live in paperback, rather than wait for C.G to get print copies and hand one to me ( which she probably would have done had I not done so). Because of that, due to a minor error by the publishers while setting up the POD copies on amazon, which was quickly rectified, I have one of a dozen or so copies of the book with a typo on the spine… In years to come this rarity will perhaps be worth a fortune…