The Last Four Things

The Last Four Things

By: Paul Hoffman

Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way right off.  I was sent a review copy of this book by a publicist.  My standing policy on this is that if I don’t like the book, I don’t review it.  Since I didn’t pay for the book, I can’t complain too much if I didn’t like it, so I don’t complain at all.  If I had paid for the book, then I have every right to complain about my wasted money.  Since you’re reading this disclaimer, you’ve probably already discerned that I liked the book.  So, let’s get on with the review, shall we?

This is the second book in an expected trilogy.  I really dislike reading books out of order.  I always feel like I’m missing something of the plot, world, and/or characters.  This wasn’t much of an exception to that rule.  I will say, however, that Hoffman did a splendid job of getting me up to speed on the highlights of the backstory.  That helped, and it was done in such a way that it didn’t feel like it was just a recap for the reader.  I still found myself feeling that I’d missed out on some of the character building, and plenty of the world building.  Hoffman has built this world that feels very much like a parallel world to ours, with many of our locations and religions built right in.  I found myself wondering more and more, as the story went on, where some of this came from, and how it all tied in.  Perhaps that was stuff that would have been answered in the first book.  I can’t know until I read it.

The book read quickly, despite the fact that it’s full of information at every turn.  Much of the dialogue reminded me of the dialogue from a Kevin Smith movie, or a Tarantino movie; deep and thoughtful without being too complex.  The characters are well rounded, and I found myself being drawn to them while, at the same time, being repulsed by some of what they did.  That sounds funny, but given the circumstances they found themselves in, it’s not so bad.  In fact, if you ask me, it’s the sign of some really well written characters.  The plot was well twisted, and very little of it was given away.  In fact, I think that Hoffman may have gone a bit too far in a few places in keeping the plot hidden.  The actions made sense, but they weren’t ever really given any clear justification.

All around, a really well written fantasy with some really fun/interesting elements that make it highly readable.  I’ll have to keep an eye out for the third book when it comes out, as well as add the first to my list.

New Release: The Last Four Things

Today is the release day for The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman.  I recently got it in for review, and am impressed with what I’ve read so far.  Keep your eyes out for a review in the next couple of weeks.  Until then, I was able to secure a bit of a preview for you.  Here’s an excerpt from the prologue of the book:

Imagine. A young assassin, no more than a boy really, is lying carefully hidden in the long green and black bulrushes that grow in great profusion along the rivers of the Vallombrosa. He has been waiting for a long time but he is a patient creature in his way and the thing he waits for is perhaps more precious to him than life. Beside him are a bow of yew and arrows tipped with black country steel capable of penetrating even the costliest armour if you’re close enough. Not that there will be any need for that today because the young man is not waiting for some rascal deserving of his murder but only a water bird. The light thickens and the swan makes wing through the rooky wood, the cawing crows complaining bitterly at the unfairness of her beauty as she lands upon the water like the stroke of a painter’s hand upon a canvas, direct and beautifully itself. She swims with all the elegance for which her kind is famous, though you will never have seen movement quite so graceful in such still and smoky air on such steeple grey water.

Then the arrow, sharp as hate, shears through the same air she blesses and misses her by several feet. And she’s off , web strength along with her grace convey her whiteness back into the air and away to safety. The young man is standing now and watching the swan escape.

‘I’ll get you next time you treacherous slut!’ he shouts and throws down the bow, which alone of all the instruments of death (knife, sword, elbow, teeth) he has never been able to master and yet is the only one that can give him hope of restitution for his broken heart. But not even then. For though this is a dream, not even in his dreams can he hit a barn door from twenty yards. He wakes and broods for half an hour. Real life is careful of the sensitivities of desperadoes but even the greatest scourge, and Thomas Cale is certainly one of those, can be mocked with impunity in his nightmares. Then he goes back to sleep to dream again of the autumnal leaves that strow the brooks in Vallombrosa, and the great white wings beating into swirls the early morning mist.

Excerpted from THE LAST FOUR THINGS © 2011 by Paul Hoffman. Published by Dutton, A
Member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Excerpted with permission from the publisher. All Rights

It’s a bit difficult to get the full feel for the story from that excerpt, but you get a feel for the writing that Hoffman does and I find it to be very good.  There’s something about the flow of it, and the language that really gets me reading.  It’s the second book in a series, but the prologue and first bits do an very good job of catching you up to the story.  Pick up a copy at Amazon.