☆ [PDF / Epub] ★ The Fatal Tree (Bright Empires, #5) By Stephen R. Lawhead ✩ – Dolove.info
Kit Stared At His Fellow Questors Is This It The End Of Everything It Started With Small, Seemingly Insignificant Wrinkles In Time A Busy Bridge Suddenly Disappears, Spilling Cars Into The Sea A Beast From Another Realm Roams Modern Streets Napoleon S Army Appears In S Damascus Ready For Battle But That S Only The Beginning As Entire Realities Collide And CollapseThe Questors Are Spread Throughout The Universe Mina Is Stuck On A Plain Of Solid Ice, Her Only Companion An Angry Cave Lion Tony And Gianni Are Monitoring The Cataclysmic Reversal Of The Cosmic Expansion But Coming Up Short On Answers And Burleigh Is Languishing In A Dreary Underground Dungeon His Only Hope Of Survival The Very Man He Tried To MurderKit And Cass Are Back In The Stone Age Trying To Reach The Spirit Well But An Enormous Yew Tree Has Grown Over The Portal, Effectively Cutting Off Any Chance Of Return Unless Someone Can Find A Solution And Fast All Creation Will Be Destroyed In The Universal Apocalypse Known As The End Of EverythingIn This Final Volume Of The Fantastic Bright Empires Series, Stephen R Lawhead Brings This Multi Stranded Tale To A Stunning And Immensely Satisfying Conclusion I have a new top favorite series In other news a re read of all five books is called for ASAP P.S Please go grab Book 1 THE SKIN MAP at your local library, bookstore, or online someplace Because these books are epic on so many levels. Initial Response HOW DO I FIND WORDS HELP It started with small, seemingly insignificant wrinkles in time A busy bridge suddenly disappears, spilling cars into the sea A beast from another realm roams modern streets Napoleon s army appears in 1930s Damascus ready for battle But that s only the beginning as entire realities collide and collapse.The questors are spread throughout the universe Mina is stuck on a plain of solid ice, her only companion an angry cave lion Tony and Gianni are monitoring the cataclysmic reversal of the cosmic expansion but coming up short on answers And Burleigh is languishing in a dreary underground dungeon his only hope of survival the very man he tried to murder.Kit and Cass are back in the Stone Age trying to reach the Spirit Well But an enormous yew tree has grown over the portal, effectively cutting off any chance of return Unless someone can find a solution and fast all Creation will be destroyed in the universal apocalypse known as The End of Everything. High Lights THE WHOLE THING Okay, specifically, THE CHARACTERS Kit is still great, Mina is still plain AWESOME, and Cass is so sweet I really enjoyed Tony s character, though, every time I pictured him, all that came to mind was Tony STARK XD It was amusing, to say the least The description and imagery, as always, TRANSPORTS me into the story I feel like I m watching a movie, it s so vivid and REAL The stakes just about killed me view spoiler I m like still kinda mad at Arthur for what he didLike, REALLY You re going to destroy the whole universe to save your wife I mean, like, that s totally sweet and romantic in a way, but c mon hide spoiler The bar was raised a little bit by the back cover promising an immensely satisfying conclusion to the Bright Empires series Substitute somewhat for immensely and that s much closer to the truth for me.The author did bring the overall story to a conclusion and that is a positive after a lot of meandering through the ages A major change in the person of one of the major characters is plausible to me, perhaps because it is nuanced I did enjoy reading this series overall.And now to the negatives This last book in the series was probably the most difficult to read Heavy on verbose descriptions of surroundings and light on conversations and action, it made it hard to keep the attention on the story As some might say, it was easy to put down at any point It was also rather disappointing that the whole paradigm for the story changed drastically in this final book And the author s essay after the epilogue just feels like the author sticking his tongue out at the reader I think I would have felt better about the book without it To explain what happened to a few supporting characters and not the main characters is bad enough Then, to hide behind the claim that this is all real and the author just doesn t know what happened to them sounds rather idiotic Or perhaps the author just can t be bothered to make something up Of course, that is the author s prerogative, as it is my prerogative not to read anything by this author again And so, I believe, it shall be. So much rides on the conclusion of a series for the characters yes, but also for the reader Expectations and suspense have been built up for hundreds of pages, and we wonder how it all will end The Fatal Tree endeddifferently than I expected, but it was still really, really good I can say very little without plunging straight into spoiler territory, but suffice it to say that a I love the crew, especially Kit, Cass, Mina, Etzel dear, dear Etzel , and Gianni.b I am endlessly fascinated by this multiverse of ley lines and by the topics this series has examined, such as time, the humongous effect everything and everybody has on everything and everybody else, redemption, human will, and WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE UNIVERSE STARTS TO SHRINK.c That cover pets lovingly If you want a wide, sprawling adventure through time if you want to fall in love with a bunch of wonderful characters or if you want to contemplate history and time and how we re all connected READ BRIGHT EMPIRES. As I think I ve mentioned before, Stephen Lawhead is one of my favorite living authors He s one of the few authors whose books I will just pick up automatically when they re released The problem with Lawhead, though, is that he frequesntly has a problem with endings, especially endings of series The Fatal Tree proves to be one of those ending failures, and it s unfortunate that such a strong story had to end with a face plant.The first problem with the book is, as it turns out, the conflict is cosmic in nature As revealed at the end of the previous book, The Shadow Lamp, the end of the universe is coming As I mentioned in my review of The Shadow Lamp, this is an issue because it changes the focus of the series We believe during the first three books and most of the way through the fourth that conflict is with Burleigh, but, suddenly, no, although Burleigh is a bad guy, he is not the bad guy He is not the antagonist.In fact, there is no real antagonist, not at that point, just an event that previously happened that, now, needs to be prevented Remember the part in one of my previous reviews where I said this isn t a time travel story Well, it s still not, but they still have to figure out a way to prevent something from happening that already happened Except they don t really know that.Actually, the major issue with this book is that the catastrophic event that was only discovered as a possibility at the end of book four is just suddenly happening It s like if you were making tea You put your water in your tea kettle, you turn on the burner on the stove, you set the kettle on the burner You expect to need to have to wait for the water to heat up before you can make your tea, right But not in this book Instead, as soon as you set the kettle down, not only does the water start to boil, it explodes into steam The sudden shift from trying to find the skin map to the universe could be in danger to THE UNIVERSE IS IMPLODING RIGHT NOW was unenjoyable to say the least.And, then, what do you do about the universe imploding Absolutely nothing, that s what It s kind of like standing in front of a tsunami and trying to stop it by holding up your hands But Kit and his gang because Kit has somehow become the leader decide they re going to stop it So they spend a lot of time talking about it and doing not much and never figure anything out.The other issue, from a plot stand point, is the tree The fatal tree The fatal tree that, really, has nothing to do with anything It s just there There s a whole book, basically, devoted to this tree, and it doesn t really mean anything or have to do with anything That was annoying.Then there s BurleighSo, look, Lawhead writes Christian themed books I get that As a Christian, I appreciate his general subtle application of Christianity into his stories But not this time Because Burleigh, as it turns out, isn t really our bad guy, he needs to have a conversion experience, which would be fine, except Except that Lawhead spends chapters and chapters dealing with Burleigh and his descent into self loathing so that he can finally come to understand that he s powerless on his own and does, yes, need God This is all handled like someone with an addiction needing to hit bottom to know that he needs help rather than someone coming to understand that it s grace that is needed Also, it goes on way too long In detail It s tiring.Basically, I was very dissatisfied with the book and how it ended the series Too many things happen for no real reason other than that the author needed them to happen so he made them happen There s no explanation or rational or anything I m sorry, but you don t write a whole book about a tree that just happened to be there and has no other purpose than that it happened to be there Also, you don t have the heroes essentially save the universe on accident, even if that s what they wanted to do I can t say the series, overall, was a waste of time because books two, three and four were really very good , but I might have been satisfied if I had never read this one and just wondered what happened. Disappointing from a writer of quality The structure seemed stilted, characters largely uninteresting, plot and devices were imprecise mumbo jumbo That s what I wrote for 1 of the series, I kept going until I finished I don t have the level of OCD required to comment on 2, 3 and 4 And I shouldn t have kept going through 5.Unfortunately, I did It was almost a Mandrake gestures hypnotically resolution to the story Brief, vague and unsatsifying In 5 volumes 1500 pages I d have thought a satisfying denouement could be made But the story petered out unclearly at the end indeed so unclearly that Lawhead himself wrote a what happened next chapter and then a concluding essay Amongst the various things which set my teeth on edge, the most annoying to me was the author simply dumping in stuff which came from his own recent reading or viewing one of the characters is Benedict Cumberbatch yes, right Another one is Thomas Young as Lawhead refers to him often The Last Man who Knew Everything which is the title of a very recent biography of the man And Thomas Young is a real person quite a character indeed, but he doesn t achieve much in the progress of the plot save to be announced most times as The Last Man who Knew Everything Personally, I don t like real people to figure as apparently important people in fiction I don t even like other fiction character to arrive on the set of a different author So, I couldn t really engage Farmer s Riverworld series. Well like most Lawhead series, this was a fun romp I loved the characters The story was well plotted, well researched, and well written And I recommend any Lawhead fan to read this series.However, this is not my favorite of Lawhead s work There s a little X position in this series than what I think is necessary It seems to have elongated it somehow Also, while I understand that Thomas Nelson is a Christian publishing house, and I also am of the Christian faith I did feel that there was a little bit too much of a stretch with religious themes symbolism I have no problem with this However it seemed a bit of a reach at times I appreciate the way that Lawhead makes his religious themes much subversive and subtle in his other works in my opinion that makes it even powerful.There are some plot holes related to some of the quantum physics stuff The ending leaves unaccounted for than I would have liked but that s the choice of the storyteller and I respect that If you re a Lawhead fan read all five of these books They re a lot of fun If you ve never read any of Lawhead s work before, I recommend starting somewhere else My favorite by him is Byzantium I highly recommend this as a Lawhead primer He s a great writer All in all this was an entertaining story about people I cared about. First posted here In the immortal words of Bilbo Baggins at least in a certain film , I ve put this off for far too long I was waiting for the right words, but I ve realized that there s simply no way to do justice to this book in a review, and so instead of waiting for a time that will never come, I m simply going to say something about it, even if it s not enough You see, the Bright Empire series of which The Fatal Tree is the fifth and final book meant so much to me that I can t quite put it into words I enjoyed it, loved it, and it had a profound influence and effect on me The series worked its way into a deep part of me that makes it hard to get at to explain I m not sure if you ve had this experience, but sometimes you read something that becomes a part of you It changes you And so you can t really talk about it not really, not in a way that could explain to anyone why it happened to reach you at that soul level, because if it didn t do the same for them, then they just won t understand And that s all right, because every book affects people differently, if at all It just makes it difficult to explain.So it s seems silly to attempt it, and I won t try, but I will say that this series is a part of me, like several other book milestones along the way through my younger life I won t go through those here It s enough a part of me that I don t really think about it, but it is and it s there.So here are a few things about the series that made it something special, at least for this literary traveler.For one thing, there s Mina She was the first female role model I d met in a book since I was very young I want to be her Heroines never interest me in fiction much I don t know why, but I m usually drawn to the heroes So Mina was something new and different She showed me it was possible to do oh so many things She s the bravest character I ve ever read about, but she started as a stressed, tired young woman from our modern days Literally plucked out of her life and thrust into another one, she refuses to give in and transforms her situation into something incredible She is clever and heroic and rather brave than I think I d ever be, but she is so incredibly loving and steady too, and she shines She makes a way in the world, and is loyal to her friends, and capable, and an entrepreneur, ready to try new things whether in a bakery or fearlessly treading the roads between worlds, but she s still human and shows that it s okay to wish you could be home taking a hot shower to avoid the world at times And, I mean, who wouldn t want to go visit her and Etzel s joint Kaffeehaus in 1600s Prague It s the most amazing place I think what I m trying to say is that I didn t really have role models in fiction, and that we need those I ve had plenty of fictional heroes, and I needed those too, and I had Eilonwy and Princess Irene and Eowyn and others, but I hadn t met a modern heroine I could look up to, and I think in a rush to write realistic characters read dull and flawed, or fake and artificially strong , people just don t write truly heroic characters any Not the ones who can actually be looked up to, and show a blueprint of what might be, and meet me where I am and inspire me and show me that I can be somethingand do things I won t ramble on about her than that, but Mina is one of the best things that ever happened to me.The series also firmly embedded into my mind that whole there are no coincidences thing, which as much as I always knew in theory I didn t really believe if you know what I mean, until reading this fascinating series If there s one thing I took away from these books, it was that, and I adore it.Then there s how I ll run across things in life, or in other literature, or in a song, or history, and I ll see it echoing back to this series whether it s a name, or a place, or something else and I ll go Aha It s like Bright Empires and I ll do a little dance of intrigued joy For example, I stumbled across a translation of a Welsh song called Adra Home by Gwyneth Glyn and it so strongly fit this series I thought What a coincidence Oh, that can t be right Aside from simply being great fun to find things in life that remind me of a beloved series, it opened up a whole new world to me and how could it not, with such a broad canvas of times, places, people, and thoughts painted together with such intricacy and skill And also with beloved characters and humor and enjoyment, because that s the important bit that makes the rest stick in your mind Because there s the thing you can have the most interesting or enlightening book in the world, but if it s not fun, it s not going to stick with you or with me, at any rate And you can have an enjoyable story, but how much enjoyable is it if, amidst the fun, it stretches your mind far afield and shows you a whole new world and makes you think I love how this series did all of those things for me, and all in a mind bending, genre defying, completely new sort of way.But aren t you going to talk about this book, not just the series, then you ask Oh, very well I see the series as a whole and so I don t have terribly much to say specifically about the final book, other than as the end of a saga Especially not without massive spoilers, which nobody wants because you must discover them on your own when you read the books and you ARE GOING TO, right stern but loving look But there are a few things, so I ll mention them.I don t know how I feel about a few things that happened, and at least at one point I wished that some of the characters could have come in at the end with the others and they didn t but then I realized that they were perfect where they are Several pairs of people are THE MOST ADORABLE THING I m sorry, I m a romantic XD Familiar places like Black Mixen Tump swirl back into the story, and continue to be fascinating Desert sand in Egypt to frozen ice and the Stone Age, with Prague and Constantinople and all the rest in between I love the richness of all the different countries and times we get to visit in this series, and how vivid they are even if some can get downright frightening , and especially the good hearts of many of the people we meet Everything s so genuine, laced with a thread of nobleness and light.I still adore all of the characters, fiercely Mina, Kit, Etzel, Cass, Giles, Tony, Haven, Gianni, the members of the Zetetic Society, and all the rest They re my friends now I was so delighted to get to finally complete their story in this book, and I absolutely love how all of their tales intertwine and fit into the book so neatly but with threads trailing afterward to the future And I love all of their interactions SO MUCH They make the book DEven the villains are interesting, and far from straightforward Burleigh s plotline is one of the two most skillful ones of its kind I ve read in my life.And, of course, there s a time related thing or two that finally happen in this book, which I ve been waiting for since the first one One in particular made me SO HAPPY Looking at you, chapter 11 Speaking of timey wimey things, that sort of thing always makes my head spin in a good way and I think I filled a couple of pieces of paper with diagrams of different people s timelines and where and when they crossed and it was still dreadfully confusing and I love it so much XD Someday I m going to carve out the time to read the whole series again, and I m looking forward to that with relish And maybe then I ll finally fully understand the ending, which tied my mind in knots D Then there s that whole having to save the world thing, what with the whole universe about to end and everything, which is as serious as it sounds and just as exciting and there may or may not be some death in there, and I m not saying I totally understood how everything turned out I like a good goes slightly over my head and requires a rereading ending just look at Diana Wynne Jones , especially with science y things going over my head, but everything came together from the previous books and on the whole I was terribly pleased with how The Fatal Tree wrapped up the series I m also so glad we got a what happens next bit at the end too collapses It was an experience, and one it s taken me nearly two years to get around to finally externalizing and typing up in the form of a review or shall we call it an essay , but I can safely say that the Bright Empires is one of the most delightful series I ve had the pleasure of reading Even if only as an enjoyable adventure, I recommend them highly to anyone who cares to try their luck Or, since there is no such thing as coincidence, let s say that luck is the wrong word and leave it at that I m deeply indebted to Mr Lawhead for penning such a well, brilliant is the only word for it, in so many ways series, and I look forward to delving into of his books very soon Also THE SPOON O WHAT DOES IT MEAN I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. Culmination In this final installment of the Bright Empires series, I especially appreciated Lawhead s references and parallels to famous moments and teachings in the Bible While this series isn t overtly Christian, the underpinnings of truth ring through the finale A satisfying conclusion to a complex tale I look forward to reading of Lawhead s work.