Locklands by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This final book in the Founders Trilogy is an epic thrill ride of sky-high stakes (the fate of reality itself), incredible battles, and a re-imagining of the Big Bad from book 2. But despite the twists and turns of the plot, the author does not skimp on the characters...and the fate of our two protagonists, Berenice and Sancia, made things get very dusty in the room as the book reached its climax.
This is an epic fantasy, but it also deals with classic science fiction concepts: reality as a computer simulation that can be manipulated with the right codes, a transhuman future, and gestalt consciousness--one being spread across many bodies. (This last point, vital to the plot, remains as creepy as all get-out to me, even though the author depicts the concept about as benevolently as I think can be done. But I want only my thoughts in my own freaking head, damn it.) The magical system shown here, called "scriving," has undercurrents of physics and quantum mechanics that gives the story a hard-science edge, at least to me. It's definitely in my sweet-spot blend of genres.
The story takes place eight years after the events of the second book, Shorefall, with our increasingly desperate protagonists fighting a losing battle against the unholy villain from the second volume. The author's continued and favorite theme of events from hundreds or thousands of years past reverbating down to the present continues here, as we finally get the complete story of what happened to Clef and what he did. This book, like the previous two, is more than 500 pages, but it held me riveted from start to finish.
I've looked back on previous books of this author I've read, and I've given almost every one of them five stars. This series is incredible, and you should not miss it.
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