Title: The Last Wizard
Author: Simon Hawke
Series: Wizard #8
Talon may be the youngest of the Dark Ones, but he’s been scheming for centuries. And with all his opposition whittled away—by the Council, and their human Avatars—the time has come at last to strike. The Avatars have no idea the full extent of his plans. Even the human government, with all its resources, can’t provide more than a speed bump. It will be a battle of power Talon fully intends to win . . .
This was probably the worst place to start the series, but I didn’t realize HOW many books came before it until after I finished. And this was the only one I had on hand anyway, so, take my thoughts with that in mind.
If it sounds like I’m seeing the plot more through Talon than anyone else, that’s because he was not only the easiest character to latch on to, but the most consistent one. The actual Avatars themselves got a boatload of backstory but not much present-day action, so they weren’t all that interesting. The old professor was amusing, but he also doesn’t contribute a whole lot until the end. So Talon drove most of the story, as we get to see his schemes unfold.
Actually Rafe was my favorite character. Rafe understands well enough how the world works, and he can suss out Talon’s agenda enough to refuse to have any part of it. He’s maniacally single-minded about that, and it’s his will against Talon. And I love how the end of that plays out (although I don’t buy Rafe’s ultimate decision about what he’ll do . . . he seems wasted on something that won’t let him do more with what he already has).
I liked how tight the writing was, too. The descriptions are vivid and succinct, and the game of cat and mouse didn’t often falter. Most of the slower spots were the backstories of the various good guys, which series readers probably already know and I found more confusing than relevant. So this person has that person’s memories. Did it matter? No. So I don’t really care about the whole sequence unless that’s actually going to be important to THIS plot.
Overall, I found the world to be interesting, though I probably would’ve followed along a lot better if I’d found one of the earlier volumes and started there. If you’ve been reading the series, Recommended. But if this is the first book you’re looking at, I’d try to start somewhere else, and rate it Neutral.