Beyond World's End
continues Eric Banyon's tale in the Bedlam's Bard series. Sieur Eric, Knight and Bard to the court of the Queen of Elfhame Misthold, moves back to the Big Apple to take care of unfinished business. Most notably, he wants to finish his interrupted education at Julliard and settle down to a normal life.
As Eric says goodbye to his friends Kory and Beth, he settles into a new apartment and a rigorous schedule at Julliard. However, a normal life doesn't seem to be in his immediate future as he quickly discovers his apartment has unique features, including a living gargoyle named Greystone and four Guardians who have sworn to protect New York from evil. But the evil the Guardians are facing this time is something they haven't seen before.
Unscrupulous researchers have created a drug that briefly unlocks magical powers in a small percentage of the humans it's given to. Unfortunately, it also has a 100 percent mortality rate. But something evil from Underhill has other plans and seeks to use the temporary human powers to threaten the World Above. As Eric gets drawn into the fray, his past catches up with him and good grades become the least of his problems.
Beyond World's End, which takes place in the same universe as Lackey's SERRAted Edge series, combines human evil and magical evil in a compelling way that brings the characters into today's world. Eric is all grown up now and he's a wonderful hero. However, Beyond World's End feels like it's missing the last few chapters. So much time is spent on back-story and the physical setup of the novel that many characters and their stories are introduced only to be dropped with no explanation or resolution. What could have been a great book ends up being ultimately disappointing coming from these two excellent authors. --Kathie Huddleston
From Publishers Weekly
A human bard returns to the mortal world to find himself battling both elven and human demons in this entertaining entry in Lackey's Urban Faerie series. In this sequel to Bedlam's Bard, Eric Banyon moves to New York to finish his Julliard studies as a flautist, only to find that his apartment building is a safe house for the city's magical Guardians. Together with his Guardian neighbors, his friends Beth and Kory from the previous book, and his erstwhile flame, Ria Llewellyn, Banyon uncovers both a plot to open a nexus to the elven world, Underhill, in the middle of Manhattan and a group of scientists' scheme to use psychotropic drugs to uncover magical powers in normal people. Both the scientists and Aerune, the dark prince, hope to harness the drug-induced abilities of New York's street people to build their own powerAuntil Banyon and his friends intervene. Continual references to contemporary New York life help contextualize and anchor a story that might otherwise wobble on its fantastical underpinnings. While the main characters verge on predictability, quick, vivid portraits of side characters are much more interesting. Readers will want to have read Bedlam's Bard for the back story of Lackey and Edghill's faerie world's complex geography and social structure. Even on its own merits, however, this novel's accessible blend of the urban and the whimsical will appeal to those who wonder whether the phantasmagoric walk city streets.
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