The Red Queen’s War #3: The Wheel of Osheim (Harper Voyager)

All the horrors of Hell stand between Snorri Ver Snagason and the rescue of his family, if indeed the dead can be rescued. For Jalan Kendeth, getting back out alive and with Loki’s key is all that matters. Loki’s creation can open any lock, any door, and it may also be the key to Jalan’s fortune back in the living world.

Jalan plans to return to the three w’s that have been the core of his idle and debauched life: wine, women, and wagering. Fate however has other plans, larger plans. The Wheel of Osheim is turning ever faster, and it will crack the world unless it’s stopped. When the end of all things looms, and there’s nowhere to run, even the worst coward must find new answers. Jalan and Snorri face many dangers, from the corpse hordes of the Dead King to the many mirrors of the Lady Blue, but in the end, fast or slow, the Wheel of Osheim always pulls you back. In the end it’s win or die.

And here we are again with the conclusion of another Mark Lawrence trilogy. Only this time it’s The Red Queen’s War and not The Broken Empire, but either way, they’ve both been great reads and Lawrence successfully makes it six out of six. If you’re browsing this review and for some reason have not read any of his work before then get on it as soon as you can, because he’s one of my favourite fantasy authors right now. If you have read the first two novels in The Red Queen’s War then you can be rest assured that Lawrence kills it here again, and delivering an excellent conclusion to a fantastic trilogy.

The Wheel of Osheim is a mind-blowing read, with a novel that reveals all and doesn’t shy away from delivering a book that handles everything really well, including one of the best ways that a character has gotten out of hell that I’ve seen in a novel. The story develops nicely overtime and explores Jalan’s best attempts to go back to his old life of a drinker and a gambler as though nothing has happened only for him to ultimately fail. Wisely putting the focus on the main character for the final book, we get a thrill ride that showcases just how much Jalan has grown as a character. He’s changed as much as what he’s left behind, and it’s interesting to see his growth over the course of the three books.

The characters that aren’t Jalan also get enough attention in this novel to leave you satisfied with the Red Queen making the biggest impact of them all, which will reward readers who have been waiting to see what all the building up has led to. Mixing in the Red Queen with the Silent Sister and Lady Blue we get to see a great payoff with these characters in particular, and even Snorri gets a satisfying conclusion to his storyline even if the main attention is on Jalan.

One thing that’s interesting to note is the connection that this book shares with The Broken Empire. It’s been something that’s been present in the previous two novels but here we get to see more of this than before and learn more of how the rest of the world views Jorg’s actions and how they have shaped Jalan’s world. It’s a fantastic way to tie things in and really works, not feeling cheap or unnecessary.

The dramatic fight sequences allow for plenty of action that is pulled off well, fitting in with the tone of The Wheel of Osheim strongly. The whole book is paced really well and flows perfectly from page to page, and I had a hard time putting it down as I wanted to see how Lawrence brought everything to an end. It’s safe to say that readers will not be disappointed, and I can’t wait to see where the author take us next, because based on his stellar track record so far things can only get better from here.

VERDICT: 9.75/10




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