Dec 28 2012

A Review of The Other Side of Hell by Niall Teasdale

The twelfth book in the Thaumatology series by Niall Teasdale, The Other Side of Hell was released last week, and there was no way I wasn’t going to read it immediately… I even put aside my last minute Christmas shopping for it… Believe it or not. Yes, it is billed as the tenth book, but I am counting the anthologies as well. I reviewed the first book,  Thaumatology 101, here. The second, Demon’s Moon was reviewed here. The third book in the series, Legacy, that review is here. The first collection of short stories from this universe called Tales from High Towers’ Study is here.  The fourth book in the series, Dragon’s Blood is reviewed here. And the review of the fifth book in the series, Disturbia is reviewed here. The second collection of short stories, Tales from the Dubh Linn, was reviewed here. And the eighth book in this series Hammer of Witches was reviewed here. And, you can find the review on the Tale for the ninth book called Eagle’s Shadow here as well. I also reviewed the tenth book Ancient, and last week I reviewed book eleven Dragonfall.

The Other Side of Hell by Niall Teasdale

The Other Side of Hell by Niall Teasdale

When you lose your world, you’ll go through Hell to get it back:

In the final battle with the dragons, Lily Carpenter sacrificed herself to save Ceridwyn Brent, and the world. There was not even a body to bury; she vanished in a blaze of light leaving Ceri to mourn her passing.

Then a revelation suggests that Lily might not be dead, just elsewhere. But even for one of the most powerful magicians since the Shattering, walking into Hell to get her back may be one journey too far.

So, what can I say about this book that isn’t full of spoilers…

The beginning was interesting as it fills in the gaps that were hinted at in the previous story. What the dragons did, what happened to change Ceri, the things that happened that were not clearly understood make a lot more sense now. Especially if you didn’t pay attention. I’ve said this before and it is very true again with this story that you must pay attention to the little things… They will return with a vengeance.

Ceri falls back to a point in her life when she was quite willing to have it end. Lily is lost, Ceri believes that she has been killed to end the threat of the dragons once and for all. She isn’t thinking, she is grieving, and that costs her greatly as time passes on. At least until she is reminded of something, something very important, and she gets her mind together and decides to do something.

Many of her friends, notably Carter and Alec, are devastated by the events of the previous work. Others have been changed because of the dragons and their plans. Everything is, quite simply a mess and from all intents and purposes, the mess is only going to get worse before it gets better.

Twill is no longer at Ceri’s home, which is another problem, but it is one that Ceri can’t deal with at the moment because her purpose now is to find Lily and bring her home, no matter the cost. That means going to Hell… literally.

I found it fascinating, the small glimpse of this world, that we see. It’s not a complete view, not by any means but it does add a lot of background to demons and the like in this universe that I appreciated. Many plans come to their conclusion, past threats return, one of which I have to say I expected. I found rather satisfying the means to which Ceri deals with that issue, it was rather obvious and it served to just confirm something I had always thought about that particular character and their mannerisms. I suppose the old saying about stupid is as stupid does comes into play there.

It also was quite well done how the plans of the dragons and the demons came to connect in the ways they did, the aftermath of those events were quite Earth shaking and what that does to three characters in particular I think was well played out in the story. There is unfinished business there and I expect it to come to a head in the next work… Threats given do, eventually, have to play out don’t they?

Lily, one of my most favourite Succubi, has horns and a tail. Now, normally that would make me quite happy, but, as seems to be the fate of both Lily and Ceri, things are not all happy and light by far. How that happens, what it does to Lily and by association, Ceri, is difficult to read at times. The thing of it is however, in spite of the dark, there is hope and in the end that matters.

What’s more is that in connection with that, there are moments of joy, of compassion, and of belief that reconnect the two of them that by the end of the work I can just about see the Lily I know and love… just with horns and a tail. It is also nice to see Lily’s father again, and the reveals that come from that are telling, especially if you paid attention to him from his first appearance. It is always important to listen to the words spoken for they tell more than you see at first.

One point about Hell that was… expected, really, was the idea of owing a favour or giving a favour, or, more accurately, paying for a favour. That is hard for Ceri to deal with and her own self doubts do return to threaten her. I find myself pondering those she helped, and what happened from that, and most of all the climax of the story.

I have the oddest feeling that all of that is going to come back to bite Ceri where she least expects it…

Five out of five pitchforks…

The story does end on a cliff-hanger that has to do with Twill, who we finally have confirmation of who she is… Ceri has fought dragons, demons, angels, and a host of other supernatural beings. You would think that those she will be facing next would get a clue and just do whatever she wants. If not, they really should find a means to communicate with each other and save themselves a lot of grief.

Just saying…



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