REVIEW SUMMARY: Fantasy novel from one of the best in the genre.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A rogue who steals from his aristocratic family and ends up a blight on all of the Lords and Lady’s of the realm is transformed into the savior of not only the city and planet he loves, but of the entire multiverse itself.
PROS: Very good writing, intelligent dialog, good female characters
CONS: Typical fantasy fair, nothing really new here
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re fan of fantasy novels or Moorcock you’re likely to enjoy this book – otherwise, I’d give it a pass.
Moorcock and Constantine overall do a great job collaborating on a fantasy novel that holds together and works well. It’s just too bad there isn’t something really new here. The world is unique (its set in the multiverse but has no relationship to the Elric saga) and interesting – but then it would get some major point deductions if it wasn’t at least that. The theme – a boy spurned by his family because of his mixed lineage who becomes a thief and then the unlikely hero – has been done about 10,000 times. True there are some extremely unique elements of how the class structure is laid out and how the magic works on mechanical objects, but then, again, this isn’t truly new either.
The novel has plenty of foreshadowing through plays the characters watch and numerous dreams (a central part of the magic-based communication system, apparently.) I’ve always heard that foreshadowing was the sign of quality literature (well, according to Bloom County anyway), but in this book they took it a bit far. I got a little perturbed by the end of the book when the characters forced themselves asleep so they could dream and contact one another. It was also unfortunate that I had guessed the ending about half-way through. This is one reason I probably disliked the second-half of the book. I also didn’t care for the way the plot seemed to be progressing so slowly that the characters themselves complain that there isn’t enough time left to do what needs to be done! Good thing it all resolves itself in the last few pages though.
I don’t want to make it sound as if I disliked the book, it just wasn’t something thought-provoking or entertaining enough to cause me to recommend it to anybody who doesn’t absolutely love fantasy or Moorcock.
A bit of trivia – Silverheart was also put together as a video game. The game was being developed by Origin until EA acquired them and shut down production on what was supposed to be ‘a live action game with a movie attached’ (according to Michael on his web site.) Apparently they had $2 million dollars into it when it was dropped. That style of game doesn’t sound very appealing, but who knows?