The City Trilogy, Book 3
Finished: Aug. 28, 2010
First Published: Mar. 29, 2010 (UK, Can)
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: urban fantasy
'The Cardinal is dead - long live the Cardinal!'
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.
Reason for Reading: Next and last in the series.
Starting ten years after the events of the first two books we meet up with Capac Raimi again whom we last really saw in Book One, though he was referred to in Book Two. We see that his rule as Cardinal has not gone as smoothly as he had hoped but this is in fact his own doing as he wants to put his plans into action and slowly watch them unfold since he has eternity to fill. But what he hadn't counted on was the power the rival gangs were gaining and that has him worried. Also though he has started to see and have encounters with people from his past who are dead and that can only mean the mysterious blind Incan priests are up to something. When Capac disappears, his second in charge hires professional killer Al Jeery to find him and this leads to the realization that the Ancient priests have been secretly plotting to take back the City for themselves for years.
Darren Shan has brought all the aspects from books 1 & 2 together in this conclusion to the series in an explosive showdown between the gangs, the Cardinal's mafioso and the powerful Incan priests. The plot is fast-paced and keeps its energy throughout. Just as expected from the previous books this is a dark, gritty, violent urban fantasy. All threads are pulled together and story arcs run to conclusion many in unexpected endings. I was a bit disappointed that Capac's part was limited to the opening and closing sections, with Al Jeery being the protagonist throughout the main portion of the novel. But that's just because I was fascinated with his character in book one; this story needed to be told the way it was. There is a huge revelation for Jeery which is a big shocker and a very disturbing one as we thought we knew all there was to know about serial killer Paucar Wami.
I'm not usually a big fan of urban fantasy or the level of violence that comes with type of story but Darren Shan is a favourite author and he truly has come out with a tour de force for his first series written to an adult audience. I was so looking forward to reading this last book and my expectations were more than met. I definitely plan on re-reading the series someday in the future where I can read the books altogether in a row as I think it will be an even more intense experience when I don't have to wait a year between books. If you can handle mafioso style violence, I definitely recommend this urban fantasy trilogy. The Incan mythology gives it a unique flavour especially when combined with a mafia-type organization and mysterious powers that control certain peoples lives, I should say deaths.
As a P.S., in Shan's dedications he says good-bye to his previous pen names "Darren O'Shaughnessy" his real name I believe, which he wrote under in his early days and "D.B. Shan" the name he wrote under for his two famous YA series. At this point we can expect all Shan's future books to be written under "Darren Shan" which also includes this adult series and two new YA novels published this year.