Review: The Last Page
Author: Anthony Huso
Publisher: Tor Books
Published: August 17, 2010
arc paperback, 431 pages
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Twenty-three-year-old Caliph Howl is Stonehold’s reluctant High King. Thrust onto the throne, Caliph has inherited Stonehold’s dirtiest court secrets. He also faces a brewing civil war that he is unprepared to fight. After months alone amid a swirl of gossip and political machinations, the sudden reappearance of his old lover, Sena, is a welcome bit of relief. But Sena has her own legacy to claim: she has been trained from birth by the Shradnae witchocracy—adept in espionage and the art of magical equations writ in blood—and she has been sent to spy on the High King.
The Last Page is Anthony Huso’s debut novel. It is an Epic Fantasy novel but is full of a Steampunk feel that translates well. There is a lot of magic in the story but it feels more scientific than mystical. The technology seems to be driven by a combination of magic and mechanization. These concepts really work off each other in a cohesive flow that just goes together.
The story centers on the characters of Caliph Howl, the Duchy of Stonehold’s new High King and Sena, a Shradnae witch who is also a former schoolmate and lover of Caliph’s. I have to admit that at first I really did not like any character that was introduced. They do grow on you as Huso develops them throughout the story. Huso weaves a story that is written in a style that is very descriptive yet never seems overly wordy. As for the story development, it flows well for the most part. In the middle the flow does slow down somewhat but this part is used to its best advantage by working on some of the backstory. Huso does an excellent job of world creation with this novel. He builds a world that has enough familiarity that you kind of understand it but has just the right amount of newness to work you just a bit.
Overall this was a very good novel and if Huso is this ambitious with his first novel then we should be in for some really good offerings from him. If you are a fan of High Fantasy, Steampunk and good storytelling, I would heartily recommend this book.
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