Those Below by Daniel Polansky


Became a Faceless Man
This is the last book of Daniel Polansky's duology, the Empty Throne Series, and I was definitely hyped after reading the previous book, which I thought was excellent...even if it was freaking expensive :p

This book, for me, delivered in all ways that could be delivered. Polansky's writing continues to be superb, his characters are complex and flawed as ever. But it is in the portrayal of the Eternal/The Others that he has truly excelled; Close enough in description to be human, but strikingly not so. There are scenes where you cannot help but feel empathy in their actions, only for a single, shockingly brutal line to shatter your short lived empathy.

This book brings to conclusion the massive setup that was invested into its predecessor. There is intrigue, betrayal and a lot of bloody, terrible war. There are also striking moments of humor and camaraderie, which are a welcome break from this otherwise bleak novel.

It is in the ending, however that Polansky continues to impress (She Who Waits is one of the few, few books I have read which has a truly satisfying ending). There is no forced closure, no magically spun utopia which arises from the bloody ruins of war...It is a ending like the rest of the book; Brutal, cruel, tragic and hollow. And yet this is somehow the only ending that makes fits..and I applaud him for not toning it down.

Rating: 9/10, Brilliantly done. Must read if you liked the first book, or Polansky's works in general.