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Something Like a Review – World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters

Since I’m still awake and I haven’t yet seen this week’s episode of True Blood, I’m calling it Sunday, still. By the time most of you read this, it will be Monday and perhaps pretty susceptible to dreams of the world coming to a resounding end if only to escape Monday morning. I’ll be right there with you, I promise, but for now, I’m still clinging to Sunday and the song that keeps running through my head is this one:

In the third installation of The Last Policeman Books (III), World of Trouble picks up with our hero, Hank Palace 14 days before impact. Maia, also known as 2011GV1, is on her final trajectory with the Earth and Palace is on his final crusade: to find his sister Nico before the world ends.

I won’t go too far into detail, since to provide enough detail to give insight into what’s happening is to spoil the previous books. Suffice to say that Palace is battle born, but determined to find his sister, no matter what it takes. 

While I enjoyed the previous two books in the series, this one was the best of the three and my favorite by far. Perhaps it was the changes in Palace, or in the ambiance of the world knowing it was on the brink of the disaster. Maybe it was the quest he was on; I can’t say for sure what “did it” for me with this book, but I can highlight my favorite part:

…the last page (and a half). The final scene. Not only was it brilliantly fitting for the entire story arc, not only was it the end that the world deserved, it was beautifully, poetically rendered. The first time I read it, I realized that I’d read it way too fast, yet still managed a “wow.” I read it again, slowly this time. I read it a third time, smiled, breathed a sigh and put the book aside.

Happy endings aren’t a prerequisite for a smile, mind you, but fitting ends earn them. This one earned it. To someone picking up the book just to read the last page and a half, it wouldn’t hold the same beauty, but it was something the world had been spiraling towards, and a change that Palace had earned after his trials and struggles.

The previous two books seemed somewhat rushed towards the conclusion, but this one seemed to have a much more fitting pace, as though Winters mastered the arc of the story with the third installation (or perhaps I was just getting used to the genre). In this book, even the heavy part of the arc felt right, felt well-timed, and if not happy – justified by everything that came before, and resolved by everything that came after.

I definitely recommend this one, and would even call it the crowning jewel of the series, the caveat being that without the other books in the series, it won’t have the same impact (the pun was convenient, though not intended. Let’s call it serendipity…).

Medium: Dead-tree version provided for review by Quirk Books

Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com

Overall rating: 4 stars

Potential re-read: Most likely, even if for just the final scene.

Dead-tree worthy?: This book has made me reconsider whether this series would earn a spot on my shelf. While I may not justify space for all three, I would keep the third one on the shelf with the other two on the Kindle so I can go back through the entire series.

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