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The Beating of His Wings (Left Hand of God) Paperback – December 2, 2014
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“Brooding and magnificent. Hoffman has created a terrifying world and fitted it with strange and complex characters.”—Eoin Colfer, New York Times Bestselling Author of Artemis Fowl
“The Ender’s Game–meets-the-Inquisition premise should draw fans like moths to a flame....A rousing next step for fans of Terry Goodkind, R. A. Salvatore, and their ilk.”—Library Journal
“[An] increasingly epic tale, full of grand passions that twist in the hand like a knife blade.”—The A.V. Club
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Now I kind of wish I had. The book opens with a preface that comes across as kind of snide, as though Hoffman knows lots of people wish he hadn't flip-flopped so much between obvious fantasy and vague historical references, and thought they were stupid for not getting what he was going for. Past that, it actually goes fairly well - I actually did like that Cale was laid low and forced to rely more on his wits than sheer killing ability, even if I thought the unexplained sickness was a cheap way of making that happen.
The ending is just crap, though. Won't spoil it here, but while there is a little bit of catharsis, it mainly feels like Hoffman just wanted to finish the series without actually resolving anything. In a way, I think the reader gets more closure than any of the characters.
If you've followed the series this far, you might as well finish it. One read, though, is more than enough.
Terrible end for a promising trilogy.
First, Paul Hoffman is an excellent, literate writer who includes what seem like Elizabethan colloquialisms that most people will find unfamiliar but you definitely get the idea!
The story has very strong religious undertones and when you read Hoffman's autobiographical notes, you will understand why.
Many of the battles and scenarios are based on historical and/or Shakespearean themes that make them familiar but just as incredible and the facts (the Battle of Agincourt, for instance).
Lovers of historical fiction will really like this trilogy. Some books are read and donate. These are keepers!
Top international reviews
Very annoying that the main character's (whose name I already cannot bring to mind after little more than a week) dread disease is never identified beyond vague references to its origin probably being psychosomatic.
As other reviewers have proposed, this feels far more like a contractual obligation with little to no interest by the author. I waded through the ever more turgid prose to the bitter end and placed the book down more with a slight sigh of relief for completing it than a sense of a wonderful journey's end.
The main issue is that the bulk of the plot relates to the war between the reedemers and cales forces and yet the descriptions of the battles are virtually non existant , towards the back end of the book the author literally lists about 10 or 12 battles which lead up to the final showdown on one page but doesnt give a scrap of detail about any of them !
I was hoping the ending would redeem the book but without spoiling it anticlimatic doesnt do it justice the ending is just terrible.
My personal opinion is that the author started with a really good premise and just lost his way a little bit i think that this series could have been excellent if it had been over say 5 books.
Score is based on the disappointment of seemingly lazy writing in making what could have been a wonderful book into a rather odd one. I don't know if the pieces of original writing was truly original or is it that I've not come across them in another book yet.
As other reviewers have mentioned, Hoffman also has a habit of taking us aside in the story to explain a character's actions: at one stage in particular, we are told that it's strange that after everything that has gone between Cale and Arbell, he still loves her... Eh, no it's not. First off, he's still young. Second, no one has any real control over who they love. How many people can honestly say that they haven't cared for someone who has fallen out of love with them in return - or dealt with the fallout as a friend or family member has ended up in the situation.
The ending - especially for Cale's two friends, Vague Henri and Kleist, feels like Hoffman had written the books with one ending but that his editors didn't like it so he was forced to rewrite but didn't think to go back over the rest of the book to amend accordingly.
Overall, I enjoyed the story well enough but doubt that I would read any future works of Hoffman's.
The beginning of the book is tiresomely cynical and full of elliptical phrasing to try and make the lazy writing look sophisticated. This is a schoolboy trick and indeed the first few chapter felt as if they were written by teenagers rather than for teenagers.
The end is again lazy and one gained the impression that the author just could not wait to bring down the final curtain.
All in all disappointing - the author can write well and even very well - why did he choose to throw this story away?
The setting has been criticized in this series for being ALMOST reality but then seems to diverge in fundamental aspects. The story almost exists in a time warp where a jumble of historical events, settings and peoples just seem to amalgamate into a barely comprehensible mush, so in terms of world building this book really does lack something. The characters are solid, by that i mean the main characters like Cale, Kleist, Vague Henri, IdrisPukke (what the hell kind of name is this anyway? did Hoffman sneeze while being transcribed and this was mistook this for a character name?), however characters like Arbell, Vipond, Fanshawe, Cadbury, even Bosco lacked depth or realization. Actually the lack of Bosco in TBoHW is one of my biggest concerns, as he took a leading role in The Last Four Things and to a lesser extent Left Hand of God, and i was really expecting him to amount to more than a deluded Pope who SPOILER gets dispatched in such an unceremonious way.
Bosco as a character fascinated me in TLFT, and frankly this book does a disservice to him throughout, not giving one good section of dialogue or development. But, regardless of these criticisms there's genuine entertainment and intrigue in these books, a dark and ominous trilogy that makes a nice foil to the usual fantasy tropes. Its the weakest book in the series, however it has the fortune of being in a fine series.
If you liked the first two, I'm sure you'll enjoy this!
Where children are trained to be soldiers and unthinking but where a few break the status quo.
One boy in particular (Tom Cale) does not play to the rules of the establishment, which leads to changes.
He is the wrath of god as seen in this place.
All in all a great trilogy if you like the Hunger Games, LOTR, Enders Game and the like give it a try.