- Mass Market Paperback: 736 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books (10 February 2020)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250293650
- ISBN-13: 978-1250293657
- Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 3.7 x 17.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 503 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
Endgames Mass Market Paperback – 28 Jan 2020
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Praise for Endgames
Locus New & Notable Books for April 2019
"Absorbing and involving--a fully satisfying conclusion to this particular story arc."--Kirkus Reviews
"Reading [Modesitt] is always a pleasure."--SF Crowsnest
Praise for L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
"There is something so satisfying about picking up a novel by an author who's consistently good at his or her craft." --RT Book Reviews
"How satisfying it is to settle down with another long, solid novel by L.E. Modesitt, Jr." --SF Crowsnest
"The level of detail Modesitt brings to his world-building is, as always, both uncompromising and astonishing." --Tor.com
"Modesitt writes with skill in creating a world that is believable, and the characters are so nuanced that readers will become immersed in their lives and relationships." --Deseret News
"Modesitt produces some of the best fantasy novels published." --SFRevu
"The author excels in creating worlds that are believable down to the last detail and characters whose vitality expresses itself in actions that have resounding consequences." --Library Journal
"L. E. Modesitt, Jr., has long been a pillar of the fantasy genre for well over two decades." --Guardian Liberty Voice
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Finishing the series with a book entirely from the point of view on a non-Imager political figure was a curious choice, but it could have worked. It does move the author into immediately tricky territory, since it means that there will not be the expected fantasy action we saw from various magic users earlier in the series, nor the military action that we saw from other characters. Modesitt chose to end a series that is basically military fantasy with non-military non-fanatasy. As I said, it could have worked. But it didn't.
Modesitt has never been what anyone would call subtle about politics. But this book is filled with nothing else. And it is not the politics of Solidar; it is contemporary US politics without any effort to disguise it. You will be treated to the author's musings on environmental regulation, tax policy, minimum wages, gun control, consumer protection, and the impacts of automation. Does that sound interesting? It isn't. By mid-book, I was rolling my eyes hard enough that they hurt.
The new Rex needs a bride, of course. The author provides a not-remotely-plausible excuse to have the courtship conducted almost entirely by letter. This enables him to indulge himself in pseudo-philosophical ramblings, as Charyn seeks to impress his love interest in a way reminiscent of a particularly pretentious undergrad holding forth in the campus coffee shop.
Other reviewers mention the pacing issues, but try to talk around them by claiming that the truly thoughtful reader will appreciate the...ahem...deliberate pace of the book. No, not really. If there were something worth lingering over, perhaps the pace would not have been an issue. But if I'm going to get off the highway and spend twice as much time taking the scenic route, there had better be some scenery worth viewing.
I nearly forgot about the absurd and awkward Protestant Reformation theme, complete with theses nailed to a church door. Not kidding about that either.
Oh, and apparently Modesitt has taken up playing the piano, and thinks you want to read hundreds of words about how his characters practice the piano. I wish I were kidding. I mean, I'm glad he has a hobby, everyone needs one. I just worry about what his next book will look like if he takes up stamp collecting.
I gave this book two stars instead of one because while it is deeply disappointing, self-indulgent tripe, it is in places well-written deeply disappointing, self-indulgent tripe.
Look, you have made it this far in the series, so you probably have to read it. Just prepare yourself for sad considerations of what might have been, if the author cared more about providing a decent end to the series.
As is probably clear by the number of books I've read by Modesitt (more than forty, since I've read some of his science fiction as well as most of his fantasy), I like his books very much. The style of "Endgames" might be perceived by some as dry; its pacing might be perceived as slow. I found it neither. That Charyn's efforts entail patience and diligence increases the book's immersive realism for me. Most of Modesitt's protagonists are, like Charyn, male, but his secondary characters include strong, intelligent, interesting women, and happily "Endgames" is no exception to this. His books usually also include a romantic thread. In "Endgames" much of the romance was conducted via letters and poetry, and this was handled nicely.
Modesitt is a thoughtful author, one who thinks out the economic, political, religious, cultural, and technological background of his stories. His fantasy oeuvre quietly examines the use and abuse of power, and the effect of different legal and political systems, though most of his other books do include more action and a higher bodycount than Charyn's story, which may give them broader appeal. I highly recommend the Imager Portfolio series in its entirety, and "Endgames" in particular.
In short, if you take Modesitt's typically measured story telling formula and make the main character a shut-in reading and writing bad poetry, it makes for a disappointing read. Of course, as the concluding book of an otherwise good series, it has to be read. Too bad this one rarely managed to get off the ground.