Stormforce (Last Legion) by Chris Bunch
|Stormforce (Last Legion) by Chris Bunch|
|Reviewer: Iain Wear|
|Summary: The events that have been hinted at for the first two books in the series finally come to pass.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: December 2007|
At the end of Firemask, the second book in Chris Bunch's Last Legion series, there seemed to be only one direction the series could go in. Throughout the previous two books, Protector Redruth of Larix and Kura has been a floating menace and the Legion needs to take care of the threat he poses.
Catching a Larissan spy on Cumbre gives the Legion an idea and Njangu Yoshitaro is sent in as a double agent. Whilst his mission goes well, Garvin Jaansma's attempts to cause unrest on Kura are less successful. Yoshitaro's subsequent release of the Cambrian prisoners and his own escape alerts Protector Redruth that something may be wrong. So once again, the Legion is going to war.
Whilst this will seem familiar to existing fans, if this is all new to you, this isn't the book to be reading. Bunch is conscious that he is writing a series and plunges straight into the action with a new book without pausing to recap the events from previous books. Occasionally he will refer back to previous events, but only in passing and only when absolutely necessary, so you can't get the most out of his books if you read them singly.
For the existing fan of the series, however, this is an exciting turn of events. Not only does it take Yoshitaro away from Cumbre and allows us to see a different way of life on another world, which has never happened before, it's a complete change of game plan for the Legion. Before, they have been a largely defensive force, saving Cumbre from being attacked, but this time the Legion get to be the aggressors and it's good to see them get that chance. So many series go stale after a few books, so it's great to see that Bunch is keeping things varied and interesting.
Unfortunately, this does lead to one slight down side to the book. Part of the joy of the series is the growing relationship between Yoshitaro and Jaansma and they spend a lot of the book on separate worlds where we don't get to enjoy the camaraderie between them. The other issue is that once the spying is over, it's mostly a space war rather than a ground war, which takes away a lot of the human touch that has made the series as much fun as it has been up until now.
Bunch appears to have realised this and has tried to compensate, but he's done so by increasing the number of romantic sub plots which makes the whole thing a little too much like a soap opera for my liking and does lead to one of the more predictable events in the series. Interestingly, though, despite the increased number of couples, there seems to be fewer sexual liaisons than in previous books, at least amongst the regular characters.
Once the book finishes, it does feel very much like an ending. There is still a string to be tied up, but it feels more like a political one, as most of the obvious enemies of Cumbre have been met. This, for the first time, makes me wonder how good the next book in the series is going to be, as it is when Bunch has stepped back from the fighting and concentrated on the political side of things, as he did for parts of Firemask, that his writing seems less effective.
That said, having followed and enjoyed the series so much this far, I'm reluctant to stop until it does. There may seem to be less to look forward to, but there is still something to follow and I can't resist taking that next step. The story may not be blowing up the storm it was at the start, but it's still got enough force to encourage me onwards.
You can read more book reviews or buy Stormforce (Last Legion) by Chris Bunch at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Stormforce (Last Legion) by Chris Bunch at Amazon.com.
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