Reviewed by: Beth
Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
What if saving the world is dependent on an alcoholic, virtually immortal wizard with PTSD who “steals” time from other people, a skeletal concept of war (aka: ghost) with wings and barbed wire holding him together (Oh, and the shackles that keep him from causing mass devastation…) who also happens to be a doctor, and a cyborg that seems mostly self-created? You might be forgiven for shrieking, “We’re all gonna die!” and giving up completely. And were you in The Interminables, you wouldn’t be the only one. Set in a strange post-apocalyptic world where hidden magic caused the apocalypse and is now tightly controlled, politics and magic makes for strange bedfellows.
The world-building for this book was fascinating—and it may even seem somewhat familiar to some. Orwin has been quite clear that the initial impetus for the novel was the ending of an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game called City of Heroes. When the game was shut down, Orwin decided he didn’t want to lose it that easily, and set out to write a book. That book, once she realized that she could add whatever she wanted, became The Interminables.
The comparison to a now-defunct video game is actually more apt than many would realize, simply because the book often has the feel of one. The action can verge toward the erratic, with a lot going on at the same time. There is little background given during the course of the story, which also feels like a standard video game setup. That said, the world-building is a strength, as are the characters, most of whom feel pretty solid even without a lot of backstory.
However, as with video games, there is a bit of lag time here and there. It’s not until roughly the last third that things really pick up steam and it’s all nonstop from there. Until that point, it’s sort of like a video game quests—busy until the quest is over, then down time until the next one pops up. Another resemblance was in the way some characters would show up who may or may not have much to do with the story–such as the tiger later on in the book. No spoilers, but I will say I earnestly wish I could have spent more time immersed with THAT character.
Overall, though it took a little bit to really get immersed in the world, once I did The Interminables was an interesting and unique read. I don’t know how much it ended up resembling the game it was originally based on, but I can say that if a game based upon this world existed, I would happily play it—or even read another book about that drunk wizard and his best friend, the ghost of war.
Sexual Content: None