Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Book Review - "The Last Page" by Anthony Huso

The Last Page is a unique blend of fantasy and science fiction. You have magic and a secret book on one hand, and zeppelins and something approaching electricity on the other. Author Anthony Huso is also a video game designer, and his vivid imagination translates well from computer screen to printed page.

Caliph Howl is in college when he meets Sena, a beguiling woman who seduces him...or is it something more? She graduates before him, and they lose touch for a while. Then he graduates and becomes High King. Immediately Isca plunges into civil war with Caliph doing everything he can to keep his country intact.

Sena reappears, having found the Cisrym Ta, the book she's been hunting for all during her college years. Its lock is held with a powerful spell, and she must decide how desperately she wants to open it. Once she does, who knows what horrible, wonderful things will be released?

There is some court intrigue in The Last Page and several horrid, filthy beasts, which make for a few suspenseful scenes, but I was not necessarily on the edge of my seat the whole time. Rather, it was the overwhelming odds against Caliph and Sena that kept me turning the pages. Life in this book is dirty, messy, and very bloody. Huso writes of war, betrayal, murder, and sex. He has created a lavishly detailed history in the style of high fantasy, but there is plenty to satisfy sci fi fans as well with his chemiostatic swords and a system of magic that involves numbers and equations. The magic is not explained well, but the results of equations cast are fascinating.

No matter where you fall on the fantasy/sci fi spectrum, give this one a chance. Even if you don't necessarily like either of those genres, if you like clever wordplay, you might enjoy The Last Page. Huso likes to turn nouns into verbs and use them in unexpected ways. He also has an unfortunate tendency to write in sentence fragments, which makes for a disrupting reading experience, but hopefully you can soon adjust to his cadence and not get jolted out of the story. Also, don't be afraid of the huge words. I couldn't tell if Huso has a really big vocabulary or if he just likes being a wordsmith, but in either case a high level of intelligence is quite evident.

Overall, The Last Page is an interesting read.

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