Review: World House Restoration by Guy Adams
Posted July 31, 2011on:
World House: Restoration, by Guy Adams
published July 2011
where I got it: rec’d review copy from Angry Robot Books
why I read it: really enjoyed the first book in the series, The World House
There is a box, and through that box is a house. A house that is often entered through violence. It has the power to change all who enter it, and one who enters it will have the power to change the house.
Picking up right where the first book, The World House left off, World House: Restoration offers action, betrayal, some brilliantly put together time paradoxes and a satisfying conclusion.
As I don’t know how many of you have read the first book, I will try to keep the review for the second book as spoiler free as possible.
In the opening scenes of Restoration, most of our favorite characters from the first book find themselves in the train station of the house. Some are ready to go kick some ass, others are thankful for some time to rest. The House itself has promised to help them, and Sophie is so busy bonding with the house that she has no idea what’s going on. The trains will take them where they need to go, when they need to be there. While Miles, Carruthers and Tom head to Florida hoping to run into Alan at an auspicious place, Penelope and Alan watch over Sophie at the station, leaving Ashe has the unsavory quest of going back in time to make sure all the pieces end up in their proper places so this game can play out.
Everyone, even the spirit of The House, has the same goal: find the prisoner and get him back. This is a creature who describes himself as “the kid with the bottle burning ants in the sun”. I’m not sure I can even describe him as a bad guy, or as evil. He struck me as somewhere between Zorg from The Fifth Element, and The Master from Doctor Who. Someone who has only their own best interests at heart, seeing humans are less than pawns. Hanging around down in the swamps of Florida, the Prisoner finds himself a servant and decides to invest in some auspicious real estate.
The favorite parts in Restoration were getting to see many of the opening events of the first book through someone else’s point of view. Ashe has gone back in time to make sure these people get to the House, and at times he has to threaten them to do what he wants. It’s destroying him inside to treat people like this, but for everyone else to survive, it has to be this way. These were some of the best scenes in the book, Ashe having to hold a gun to the head of people who will become his closest confidants when next they meet him. I could seriously read an entire book just about Ashe, Alan, and Chester. I could also happily read an entire book just about the Prisoner.
but wait, didn’t I just read an entire book about those folks? two books in fact? Well, yes, but not really. Now we get to my issues with Restoration. There were just too many characters for me. It seems I have no problem handling these massive casts on TV (give me Heroes any day!), but in a book, the huge cast of characters just got to be too much for me to follow. And these are not long books. Not much time for Adams to develop these characters beyond their basic strengths and flaws. I know what he was trying to do here, I understand it, really I do. The House is the main character. Sophie and Alan are incredibly important and the two of them get plenty of page time. But everything and everyone else was just too much ensemble and not enough development for my personal tastes.
Don’t let my personal biases turn you off to Guy Adams and this series. It’s a super fun, two book series that’s worth the read. The first book swept me off my feet and I couldn’t put it down. Ok, so the second book wasn’t quite as magical and had some characterization and pacing issues, but I’m happy I read it. Adams’ imagination runs to pure brilliance, and I hope this is just the beginning of a long writing career for him. If you like ensemble pieces, intensly powerful baddies, time travel, and humans who win (sort of) at the end, these are the books for you.