Review of Daemons Are Forever by

Book cover for Daemons Are Forever

In one sentence: my review of The Man with the Golden Torc stands double. In fact, I'm beginning to feel almost as repetitive as Simon R. Green, just by reiterating this! However, there are things I missed in my previous, somewhat-hastily-written review, so I shall address those now.

Firstly, Green has too many characters and doesn't know what to do with them. I wonder if he just can't control his urge to explore every cool concept that wanders across that fantastic imagination of his. For it's clear that most of his characters are intriguing--if not always original--creations; there's just too many of them. Eventually their personalities begin to clash and Green has trouble incorporating them into the plot. This overabundance of characters leads to the second and third problems: lack of character development and horrible pacing, respectively.

The characters in Daemons are Forever don't lack character development so much as consistent development. Much like their magical abilities, which Green amends and ameliorates to suit whatever situation he's dreamt up now, the characters' personalities seem far too mutable for my liking. As a result, most end up as two-dimensional canvases on which a conflict or witty remark can be painted--or rather, painfully grafted.

Daemons are Forever also lacks anything resembling an interesting story. Halfway through the book, my only thought was, "This is so ... dull." The majority of the book is devoted to exposition, either through dialogue or the internal narration of our protagonist, Eddie Drood. It's mostly, "Hmm, invaders from another dimension want to come over here and gobble us up--ideas, anyone?" Occasionally, the plot seems to sense that something is amiss and makes its own halfhearted attempt to rise up and progress in some way, but Green quickly puts a stop to that. He tosses in token action scenes--with those slippery mutable powers that every character has--to satisfy those readers who are easily bribed by such shiny baubles.

The contradictory nature of the magic underpinning Green's Secret Histories series is what irks me the most. For example, at one point Eddie clearly establishes that Merlin's Glass can't teleport him into the Sanctity (a particular room in his home base) itself. Then, only about twenty pages later, he does just that. Fantasy is supposed to be about "anything is possible," but a fantasy story without any magical ground rules, where any magic goes, eliminates the element of risk and completely destroys the enjoyment found in the element of surprise. The best moments of any book come when a character reaches down inside himself or herself to summon up that last bit of determination and come up with a plan, a smart plan, to save the day. It's not simply a matter of one of the supporting characters saying, "Oh, by the way, I can make this problem go away with a wave of my hand."

Daemons are Forever could have benefited from a better editor, one not afraid to mark up the manuscript with massive red pen marks. There's too much fluff, not enough substance.

Engagement

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