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The Golden City (The Fourth Realm Trilogy) by Twelve Hawks, John (2011) Paperback
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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His first book, The Traveler, told of a world gone to the nth degree of interfering with our privacy and trying to control things. I think of this when I'm at the grocery store, and the coupons that spit out after the transaction are the same type of products I've just bought - there is little those who want to follow our actions can't do with a flick of a computer, and what we've spent, where, when - there it is.
Enter The Travelers - beings who can enter realms and have the freedom to elude the Vast Machine - in other words, they are a threat to those who want to control our every move.
The Corrigan brothers seem to be among the last of these Travelers. These twins, Gabriel and Michael choose different sides - Gabriel with the Resistance and Michael with the machine.
The travelers are usuallly guarded by folks who are called Harlequins. Maya is Gabriel's protector, but they have fallen in love. Not a good move when you're on a dangerous mission to save the world from domination!
The latest, and apparent, last of this series, The Golden City, is the race of the brothers to reach the golden city - where the gods reside and can bestow powers. At least that's what they think -
Both brothers appeal to the public via different ways - Michael has children kidnapped to create a campaign to put tracking devices into children, who, as they grow,can be tracked every second of their lives. Gabriel appeals to the masses to stop and see what's really happening -
Whatever you say about John Twelve Hawks, he certainly makes you stop and think how much of the electronics we use, the cameras on the streets, etc. could be used for evil, and what can be done to potentially stop it.
It is, as I said at the beginning of this review, a series to give pause -- and see the potential danger we could be in as individuals and collectively as a society.
What's great about so many Sci-Fi and Fantasy books from the last few years is that instead of having black and white characters and situations things are grayer. This aspect is totally missing from The Golden City where Hawks prefers hardliner axioms of good and evil. The only redemptive part is that all of the realms previously discussed are revealed although one is sick and twisted and another a bit of a disappointment. The story moved far too quick and is more akin to a screen play where the action elements are left in, but the parts that would connect you to the characters are left out or overdone. Maybe things could have been improved with a few extra scenes. Maya's rescue was especially underwhelming and Boone being redemptive just doesn't ring true even with the backstory.
What tries to be a modern speculative fiction thriller ends up being more akin to books form 20 years ago just veiled with modern settings and technology. Lastly, the ending didn't entirely make sense as to why the brothers did what they did and as a final confrontation it was a let down. I give The Golden City 4 out of 10 Hats. I'd only recommend this if you've read the first two books as you get resolution on quite a bit, but otherwise I'd steer clear. If you've only read The Traveler stop there and enjoy it for what it was and what could have been. John Twelve Hawks will have to blow me away with the premise of his next book to get me back on board.