Ossus Library Index
Fantasy Index


A novel by Brian Ruckley
(2009, Orbit Books)

The Godless World, book 3

As the half-breed takes more and more control of the Shared and the Black Road, the world descends into chaos. Orisian tries a desperate gambit to stop him with an old mentor.


-- First reading (trade paperback)
October 5th to 22nd, 2020


By far the best written of the trilogy, this book details the further deterioration of the world under the control of Aeglyss and his connection to the Shared. In fact, there are only pockets of near-sanity left in the world, and nobody is left unaffected, at least without a lot of mental effort. I liked the way the author took time to describe the people and their emotions, the places they visited, and was thankful that I was able to place them relatively easily, even though their names were still often confusing. The problem is that the ending doesn’t give us anything. We are right back where we started, except that there are fewer people now. There are no lessons learned from the experience, barely an improvement of relations for those who survived. I was wondering, as the pages dwindled away without a solution in sight, if the author was going to do something unexpected, like having Aeglyss be right, and the heroes wrong -could he have ushered in a new dawn to humanity in a new body? Instead, the ending, while poignant for what it does, feels unfinished. There are too many loose ends, but worse, the main issues of the first book are not resolved at all.

Spoiler review:

It’s too bad that everything came to nothing, because I was mostly enjoying this book, as the world spiraled out of control, and even the Black Road followers began to realize that they weren’t fighting for their religion anymore. My hopes were high ask things seemed to move toward their conclusion -I really thought the author was going to take the unusual road of allowing Aeglyss to ascend into some sort of god or prophet, and actually make the world a better place because of it. Unfortunately, as I started to run out of pages, that seemed less and less likely, but I still hoped for something better to come of it.

Instead, the Black Road retreats, and although there is a small treaty for peace, I doubt it’s sincere based on what I’ve seen of the characters. The other clans are also retreating into isolation, so I doubt they’ll make any changes, instead rebuilding what they had, and regaining their old lives.

I think the best part about this book was the way the people associated with the black road, Kanin especially, realize that Aeglyss had derailed their movement. Even Aeglyss himself doesn’t know where this will lead. He defeats the other powerful species that inhabits the world (more integrated into the woods, and on a different level from us), and every other attempt by people to kill him. One of the Hunt Inakillim, who was one of my favorite characters, scouts him out, challenges the main Battle Inakillim, and survives to return in a failed attempt to kill Aeglyss again. I loved the way she outsmarted the Battle, and the way she could escape and hunt them all at a later time. Nicely written.

Orisian also fared pretty well in this book, as he tries to get to Aeglyss with K’rina, who is mind-dead. They converge there at the same time as the Hunt, and Orisian takes the opportunity to use K’rina to trap Aeglyss’ mind in her body. It was an innovative solution, but I was hoping it would go further; instead, it fizzled. But Orisian’s journey was interesting nonetheless, as they held the town against the Black Road, crossed the woods, and sacrificing his love, who can’t share his passion because she’s constrained by her species’ beliefs, the way he isn’t. It’s probably for the best, though, as their offspring would be another nakirim, which could put the world in danger if it was powerful like Aeglyss.

The chapters in the capital city were intense, and I liked the way Orisian's sister observed and tried to take matters into her own hands. But the Shadowhand, returning with Aeglyss’ control over his mind, had brought disaster to both her and the city itself, which begins to tear apart, for no reason except to incite chaos. As I’ve mentioned, it’s too bad this wasn’t taken further. Once Aeglyss’ power is removed, everyone goes back to themselves, cleans up and tries to get along. Why bother with the entire scenario, then?

The entire book and the characters were very interesting, and the book was well written, in that it had a good pace and effective descriptions and so on. But it fell apart at the end by doing absolutely nothing except stopping the main villain. It didn’t resolve any of the problems described throughout the trilogy. Life, if anything, is worse than when they started.


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