Title: Kingdom of Twilight
Author: Tui T. Sutherland
Diana is dying. Although Gus, Tigre, and Kali are doing what they can, none of their powers involve healing. Their only hope is that when they finally reach Africa, someone there will be willing and able to help. But Africa was excluded from this contest of the gods, and the local gods may not take well to the intrusion of the avatars . . .
I continue to be impressed by the sheer breadth and depth of the gods Tui T. Sutherland pulls into this trilogy. Not to mention the amusing takes on more familiar gods (Poseidon with his trident going after the boat comes to mind . . . invincible trident, meet magically-protected boat). This time around we get a small taste of the many gods of Africa, a tour through various underworlds courtesy Diana, and a closer look at pantheons like the Polynesians and the Incan/Aztec/Mayan. And I was right about Coyote, which made me happy.
Although I felt the story in general wasn’t as compelling as the previous book, there were still a number of things I liked a lot. Tigre finally gets a teacher he can connect with—someone utterly unlike the blustering Tlaloc—and he starts to master the weather powers everyone has been telling him he has. The other gods are comfortable with their powers, even Kali with her destructive nature. But Tigre’s always been unhappy with having weather powers rather than something animal-related (part of that being visible in choosing to go by Tigre and not Catequil). And it was fascinating to see how Catequil ended up as the representative of the hodgepodge of South American pantheons.
Gus also goes head-to-head with Oro in a few places, although I felt the conflict wasn’t as intense as it could have been. Oro never gets the chance to make Gus do something he’ll regret. And his journey to the underworld in search of Diana is over almost as soon as it starts.
I did like the end, too. The game plays out in a way none of the original authors (or even participants, with the possible exception of Catequil, since he’s a god who sees the future) could have guessed. It was really nice to see Tigre gain some confidence.
I’m not sure why this one didn’t strike me nearly as much as the second. The diverging plotlines for different characters didn’t help, because each individual story got less emphasis. The humor, although certainly there, felt a little lessened as most of the truly hysterical characters don’t get more than a line or two. And it would probably have made a difference if the African gods they found included an antagonist or two.
Overall, though, this was a good end to the story. Thanks to Catequil’s prophecies, the few threads that could be dangling get a glimpse forward to the eventual resolution. I rate this book Recommended.