Burn Card Card itibaren Mykhlyn, Volyns'ka oblast, Ukrayna
I really kind of hated this book. I only finished it because it was the last of the series and I was already so far in... but this was easily the worst of an already so-so series about Garnet Lacey. This last installment was a complete departure from the formula of the first four, taking the main characters completely away from their home base (and largely ignoring supporting characters that kept me interested up to now). There's a huge focus on the setting, with long, drawn out descriptions of the St. Paul, Minnesota, area -- all of which I found completely distracting and self-indulgent on the part of the author, who's clearly from that area. Overall, the plot was weak to begin with, and the author really didn't do anything at all to redeem it. The plot devices that works in previous books (the love/hate relationship between Garnet and Matyas, the haunting of Sebastian's house, the quirky bookstore) were all left out in favor of a backstory that only served to make Garnet look completely unsympathetic. I was never really married to this series (pardon the pun) -- other series have covered the subject matter better and with a lot more gusto -- but still, I did find a little charm in it and enjoyed it as (very) light bedtime reading. Unfortunately, this was a really disappointing end.
I took a long time coming to this book, after finishing the hugely disappointing Stand on Zanzibar, but I had promised myself to give the author another chance and this is another of his highly acclaimed novels. This time I wasn't nearly so patient. I gave up about 40 pages in. Presented again with a fragmented narrative with frequent and annoying digressions and the whiff of the same smug humour and didacticism, I just didn't have the patience to persevere. It was just going to be too much like hard work and life is too short. Perhaps I didn't really give it a fair crack of the whip but right now, with my reading appetite is waning anyway, I just don't have it in me. I going to conclude that John Brunner is not for me and avoid his work in the future.