|Submitted by Helen Kerslake |
(Mar 10, 2005)
I was amazed to find that the final chapter of The Axis Trilogy, ‘Starman’, had me hooked within the first few pages, as I had been slightly disappointed by its predecessor. Straight away we are thrown into the lives of the main characters after Axis has defeated his half-brother, Borneheld, and follow the many threads which will eventually lead to the final showdown between Axis and the enemy, Gorgrael. This story has developed into much more than simply the tale of one man’s battle against evil, as various aspects of The Prophecy are played out and we see the influences of many different people in his life and the vital role they play in his success. In particular I admired the skilful way in which Sara Douglass has woven the events so smoothly although they are very often set far apart within the world from each other. She creates many peaks and eddies to accomplish this feat, and I found that the ‘recovery’ time in between each highlight was not only realistic, but achieved optimum entertainment value by sustaining the reader’s interest until the next important sequence. My only criticism would be that perhaps the author used up all her creativity and fire too quickly, as the final few chapters where Axis faces his final challenge felt rushed and the lack of detail regarding this ending did not do the book justice.
The characters in ‘Starman’ cover a broad spectrum and I was pleased to finally see strong female characters that do not need to act aggressively or bitchily in order to advance, and are not ‘anti-men’, which so many other fantasy books do. Instead each woman or girl in the book has developed a unique personality of her own, and the two central females to Axis’ story manage to overcome their jealousy in order to work together. I also felt that there was an even balance between the sexes, with each commanding the respect the deserve and being able to do their job while being willing and open to work in harmony to achieve even greater results. My favourite characters had to be the twin babies: how you can write such evil into a newborn baby, supposedly innocent at birth, is beyond me yet Douglass managed perfectly. While I feel that three books was the ideal length for this particular story, I could not believe my luck when I discovered that there is another trilogy set in the same world and starts up years later when Axis’ children have grown up. I cannot wait to find out more behind the evil powers which created such a sinister child, and the conflict between the siblings which has already been started.
Overall ‘Starman’ was a brilliant read, full of adventure, intrigue and character development. The hero managed to carry out his task, although came close to death several times in the process, and finished as a mature character far from the person he started as. To have two such important women in his life was a novel idea, particularly when right up until the end you could not predict if he would completely desert either one of them for the other. You were left constantly wondering how he could work things out when he felt such strong love for both Azhure and Faraday and did not envy him in his decision at all.