Review of The Man with the Golden Torc by

Book cover for The Man with the Golden Torc

After discovering Simon R. Green through his Nightside series, I was looking forward to this new series. While The Man With the Golden Torc is occasionally entertaining, overall I was underwhelmed.

The culprit in this case is a repetitiveness on the part of the author. He reuses certain phrases often, and it's not clear whether this is done intentionally, for the sake of irony, or if he's just not that inventive. Also, is this book supposed to be set in the same universe as the Nightside series? If not, then Green's reusing a lot of mythology from that series, which strikes me as unoriginal--for instance, the depiction of demons as creatures that sink their claws into someone and grow fatter the more people listen to their demon. This sends a message to me that Green isn't fully invested in creating an interesting world for his stories if he's just reusing what came before.

Still, I'd overlook it if the story were outstanding. The story comes first. Unfortunately, The Man With the Golden Torc starts with a bang and ends with a whimper. The mystery component of it, in which our protagonist has to discover the secret behind his family, quickly lapses in a repetitive series of "find the next informant" adventures as Eddie and his companion visit fellow rogue members of the Drood family. During the climax, Eddie discovers the awful truth about the Droods and what the source of their power (the requisite mystical object, the Heart) actually is, only to be rescued by a deus ex machina that is ... well, to be frank, creepy. I'm not going to spoil it, but let's just say that if Eddie's new ally turns out to be evil, I won't be surprised, but I'll be disappointed. It's just too predictable.

And that's the downfall of this book: there's very little about it that's special. It's mostly predictable, occasionally quirky enough to make me smile, but seldom did it pull me in and refuse to let me go. I'll continue reading the series to see if it improves, but so far the Secret Histories series isn't living up to what I've expected from Green.

Engagement

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