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Dark Carnival by James A. Moore

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Book Information  
AuthorJames A. Moore
TitleDark Carnival
SeriesSerenity Falls
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Anonymous 
(Aug 28, 2005)

Originally posted as a single novel, Serenity Falls was recently released in a three volume mass paperback set.

Book #3: Dark Carnival

The third book picks up the story of the town of Serenity Falls, and builds on the characters we have met, yet, this book is mostly Jonathon Crowley’s tale. Crowley, the other than human demon hunter, takes center stage in the last segment. While many of the townspeople have suffered loss, many others have just been living life as normal. But that’s about to change, because the Carnival is coming.

Crowley still is unsure of what he it dealing with as the story starts, but he knows that the entity that has been plaguing him for a while is nothing more than a dangerous distraction from the real problems. He begins to realize that the secret to the mystery lies with the children. After dealing with the tormented Stan Long, he finds the entity had found a new host in the bodies of some of the towns children. Crowley finds this disturbing, yet also sees the possibilities that lay in this. As he lays his traps, he must also deal with his conflicting feelings for the mysterious women that Mike Blake has fallen for, one that he himself has had a past with.

While Crowley is brilliant and cunning in his deductions, the final battles he must have with the entity tormenting him and the town and the curse that is putting the bodies and souls of the town in jeopardy, turns brutally physical. Crowley, in the end, is looking for a fight and he finds one. As the carnival enters town, run by the souls of the outsiders slaughtered by the townspeople, Crowley has to put out one fire after another, before that final showdown.

Of all the books, this is probably the weakest, yet it is probably the most necessary due to the development of the story. The characters are in play, the battle has been set, and now, it just comes down to execution. I am someone who enjoys the buildup more that the actual action, so at points I found myself skimming through the brutal and garish action. While some aspects are predictable, Moore shows no fear of killing off main characters, and having things not go exactly how you would expect, Crowley is a worthy antihero, but he can become exasperating for the reader. His judgmental side attacks characters that we grow to like, and seems dismissive toward humans. Plus, he’s a bit too resourceful. Like Batman, he always has exactly what he needs to battle with the evil forces.

Yet, complaints aside, the series comes together well in this last book. While this is the final battle, the end leaves just enough ambiguity to leave the reader wanting more. I know if there is another book featuring Crowley, I’ll be reading it.

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