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Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Blackland series’

We return to the alt-future Los Angeles of Van Eekhout’s Daniel Blackland trilogy for the con of a lifetime and the finale. If you haven’t read these books, perhaps you should skip the rest of this post because of spoilers.

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Ready?

At the end of Pacific Fire, Daniel and his adopted son, Sam, were racing each other for the right to sacrifice their own lives in order to destroy the pacific firedrake created by a consortium of bad guys (and one not so bad). Which is, by the way, one of the best father/son scenes I’ve read in years. Sam won the dubious honor. His personality now inhabits a fire-breathing monster that roams the kingdom of Southern California torching neighborhoods because it can.

Daniel has gathered a posse to try and somehow get Sam out of the dragon’s body. They include old friends Moth, Cassandra, and Sam’s sort-of girlfriend Em. After a failed rescue attempt, guerilla fighters from the enemy kingdom of Northern California swoop in to abduct the firedrake. Now the race is on. Joined by the not-so-bad mage, Gabriel Argent, and his BFF, Max the magic-hound, Daniel heads north to get the one object that can save Sam.

This he does by impersonating his clone-brother, Paul, who met his fate at the end of Pacific Fire. To be fair, Paul tried to kill Daniel but Daniel turned the tables. Now Daniel has to navigate the treacherous waters of Paul’s life, including mentors, friends, lovers,  and Paul’s four-year-old daughter (a monstrosity in her own right). Not to mention the mother who left Daniel behind all those years ago. Virtually everyone is insanely ambitious, and some of them keep trying to kill him.

Meanwhile, Sam struggles and fails to stop the firedrake’s rampages. He encounters a young woman named Annabel, one of the original Hierarch’s numberless victims. Together they search for answers, penetrating the thickets of the dragon’s brain, only to confront their mutual worst nightmare. All this while Cassandra, Gabriel and Max face their own moments of decision between loyalty and justice.

As in previous books, there’s a lot of crazy magic and horrific references, leavened by snappy banter. The caper moves throughout. But this series is really about characters who lay it all on the line for family and friendship. Add in the pacific firedrake, and there’s not much more you could ask for.

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