The Sunday Night Book Review: Worlds Without End

Worlds Without End by: Caroline Spector

Worlds Without End by: Caroline Spector

Please forgive the poor quality of the photo. This book is so…special, that you can’t find a clear picture of it anywhere. Or at least I couldn’t so I’m sure Chad will come in and fix it once he finds a better one. [Editor's Note:  Better one added.  Original here.] Until then, look at that glorious cover. For the second installment of the Sunday Night Book Review, I will be sharing one of the Shadowrun Novels that I have read. I love Shadowrun almost as much as I love Cyberpunk, but this book, well yeah…

Shorter Worlds Without End: One Immortal Elf wishes she could pull off moody half as well as an Anne Rice vampire while playing Cassandra to the rest of the moody Immortals.

I know the picture sucks, but I want you to really look at it and drink it in. To help, here’s a German cover. [Editor's Note: as long as I'm on the topic of covers—I like the French one.  It labels it as Earthdawn instead of Shadowrun.]

WorldsWithoutEndGermanThat cover channels the 80’s like an adult easy listening radio station. I mean look at those jackets. It’s like a mini tribute to Micheal Jackson. Also, look at that bad ass car. I’m not sure why she’s pink and he’s purple though. They look like aliens not elves. But still, totally channeling the 80’s. Too bad the story channels the spirit of high school quality emo poetry complete with an absinthe fetish.

The main character from this story is Aina, an Immortal Elf who was born in the Fourth World. This would have been the last time magic levels were high. She was also around for the Scourge, and the fallout that it brought. Along with Harlequin, she fears and works against the Horrors entering into the physical plane of the Sixth World.

This book is the third part in the Immortals Trilogy. The first two books were set in EarthDawn and never published in the US. This kind of makes the book…well impossible to follow. In some ways it’s just like dealing with the Immortal Elves in Shadowrun. There’s a lot of inside comments and retaliation for past slights that have no seeming reason, and no explanation. The characters also have no backstory and no clear motivation to the reader. It’s not really Spector’s fault that I can’t read German, and therefore can’t read the first two books in her trilogy. The emo-ness of the main character who falls just short of being a Mary-Sue though, well that I can totally blame her for.

Picture this, it’s 1854, a black woman with white hair sits alone at a table looking as though she were embracing a lover  when she drinks. Or at least that’s how Harlequin describes her in the book. She has a bit of an addiction it seems. The author goes through great pains to show us the correct preparation method, as can be found here, but seems to imply the drink can cause hallucinations. She’s saved from that little addiction by Harlequin, a character created by Nigel D. Findley, and dragged through the mud by Spector.

Aina and Harlequin, ex-lovers if you didn’t see that coming, get together in order to inform the Immortals that the Horrors are moving into the physical world sooner than anyone thought. Aina would know because one of her other ex-lovers is a Horror, and he’s been sending her some messages. Will there be a showdown between the drama queen’s lovers? Oh, if the fanfic writers have there way, you know there will be.

Overall the book indulged my love of elven politics, but the plot was thin due to missing the first two-thirds. It also moves slowly with no real climax in sight. Then the book ends.

Grade: D

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  1. #1 by Joshua on June 29, 2009 - 7:21 AM

    It’s entirely possible that in a world with BTL, soygarettes, and SoyKaf, their version of absinthe can cause hallucinations…

    Interestingly, there is no One True Recipe for French-style vert or blanche absinthe. La Fee uses 11 herbs and potato spirits, Lucid uses 14 herbs and beet spirits. It’s all in who’s distilling it. The “core” herbs that are necessary to be present to call it “absinthe” are Grande Wormwood, Sage, Fennel, and Anise Hyssop. To these are added a plethora of local choice herbs.

    So to answer, once again, the hallucinogenic quality of absinthe… Eat a fennel leaf. Then eat a sage leaf, then drink vodka. Feel anything? No? Question answered – the sum of the parts cannot be greater than the whole :)

    • #2 by Joshua on June 29, 2009 - 7:25 AM

      I didn’t tell you to eat a hyssop leaf… Hyssop rates as 126 IBU… 108 IBU is enough to cause nausea in most people. Until the 19th Century, Hyssop and Wormwood were often macerated in full strength to make a rudimentary irritant emetic.

      As to the reason Absinthe doesn’t cause nausea – the ratio of herb to liquor is quite low – 0.012% herbal oils to alcohol – just enough to give the flavor of the herbs. In the “irritant emetic” preparation above, the herbs were mixed 60% herb to 40% water. The bitterness alone was enough to irritate the stomach lining and induce vomiting.

    • #3 by Christa on June 29, 2009 - 4:46 PM

      Yes well it was 1854. Our 1854.

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