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verkisto

Shelf Indulgence

Books. Reviews.

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Aftermath
Chuck Wendig
Dhalgren
Samuel R. Delany
Jackals
Charles L. Grant

Riders in the Sky

Riders in the Sky - Charles L. Grant Grant pulls out all the stops with this conclusion to his Millennium Quartet. He's been hinting at a big conclusion, with Casey Chisholm being the linchpin for the entire series, and sure enough, he brings us back into his circle. We see what's happened to him in the last few years, as well as what's happened to the survivors of the other big events from the last three novels. Reed and Cora from Symphony are tracking him down, as are John and Lissa from In the Mood, and Jude, Starshine, and Moonbow from Chariot. Their dreams direct them to Casey, as well as each other. Also searching for him are Susan, Joey, and Eula, all the protagonists from the previous novels who represent three of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and Red, who is pulling them all together for a climactic ending, and is presumably the fourth Horseman.

I feel like I've been reading this book forever. It's much longer than the previous three novels, and it goes back over old ground enough to make me feel like I'm re-reading parts of those novels, as well. As usual, Grant takes his time to develop his characters and his plot, but I got impatient this time, as I was ready to see this series through to its end. It also didn't help that a few of the key parts of the story -- a coming storm to a remote island, and a corrupt local government all about threatening people to sell their homes -- was straight out of Night Songs. I was glad to see that my prediction for the series was correct, but I was more eager to get to the end than anything else.

And that ending. It's been noted in most every other review for this book that the ending is anticlimactic, which I think it putting it mildly. Grant had four books and nearly 1500 pages leading up to this conclusion, and the final showdown takes about 20 of those pages. It was disappointing, to say the least.

It wasn't until this novel that I started to think some about the premise of the entire series, that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse had been let loose. I'm not a Biblical scholar, but my understanding of the Apocalypse has been that God would make the decision to start it. In these novels, the Horsemen are loose, but it seems that Casey Chisholm and his band of survivors are on a mission to save the world. Casey even prays to God to help them overcome the Horsemen. Why would he do that? Why would he look at the Horsemen as an invasion if he were a preacher, and why would he pray to God to help them win if God was the one who called for the Apocalypse? Is part of Judgment Day giving the people on Earth a chance to fight back against it?

I'm glad that I read the series, but I'm equally glad that it's over. Aside from the fact that it wound up feeling somewhat lackluster, overall, it marks the end of all the Charles Grant ebooks I wanted to read. I'm glad that I did, so I can move on to some other writers.