Science fiction and fantasy
by Guy Adams
Meanwhile the people who were trapped by the House are determined to recapture the stranger and put right what has gone wrong. If the stranger is allowed to return to its own reality it could rip our reality apart in the process, destroying the world. But the creature is too powerful for anyone to stand in its way.
The housemates have another difficult task as well. With the help of a train that can take them anywhere in time, some of them have to travel to the past to keep history on course. It's a distasteful job when they know they'll trap some people in the House and send others to their deaths, but the alternative is much worse. Ashe travels around delivering the mysterious box, and as a result he ends up embroiled in a murder mystery in Tibet. Fixing history turns out to be much harder than he thought it would be.
There are quite a few new characters, and most of them have very colourful personalities. There's Loomis, the real estate vendor who thinks a lot more of himself than anyone else who ever meets him does, with "a grin so wide you might think he was trying to eat his own moustache off." This is typical of Adams' vivid and quirky turn of phrase, which is one of the things that makes Restoration a joy to read. Drunk, flawed and obnoxious people turn up a lot, and they're described with flair and gusto. Like The World House, this is a novel full of blood and atrocities, creatively imagined and told in loving, graphic detail. It's horrific fun if you're not too squeamish.
The oddness keeps on coming. Magic doors open up in the real world, taunting people to walk through. Ashe converses with talking birds. People crawl through a giant plughole, pigeons can be deadly, a vast canyon in the attic echoes with eerie howling, and much more. Mid-way through the book the craziness seems overwhelming, but it's not clear where the plot will lead or what the story stands for. The time travel aspect complicates things further. However, although we think we know what will happen because Ashe is trying to maintain the past, there's always the possibility that he will fail. We see the events from a very different point of view than in the first book so it's still very suspenseful, and it gets more gripping towards the end. How can this disparate group of people defeat the stranger, who seems to have godlike powers and no feelings of pity at all for mankind? The characters struggle to change their fate, but there's a sense that even outside the House and with the benefit of a magical train, everyone in the story is trapped in one way or another. The ending draws the many strands neatly together, making sense of the chaos in an impressive feat of story weaving. The result is mind-boggling and deliciously grotesque.
7th June 2011
If you like this, try:The Four Realms by Adrian Faulkner
When a wizard is killed an old lady sets out to find the truth, even if she has to leave this world to uncover it. Vampires, tentacled terrors and potty mouths beware!
Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute by Jonathan L. Howard
The acid-tongued necromancer journeys to the Dreamlands and takes on ghouls, gods, and furry menaces with a society who want to defeat fear itself.
Chasing The Moon by A. Lee Martinez
A woman tackles Lovecraftian horrors, odd neighbours and strange appetites when she moves into a suspiciously nice new flat.