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The Last Guardian Of Everness by John C. Wright

01/06/2005. Contributed by Donna Jones

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pub: TOR. 332 page hardback. Price: $25.95 (US), $35.95 (CAN). ISBN: 0-312-84871-4.

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Galan Waylock is the last guardian of Everness, the line of humans that have made a sacred pact to guard the barrier between the dreaming and the waking world. Galan, one night, hears the sea bell toll. How many times he is unsure, but he goes to his tutor and grandfather to seek guidance.

Eventually, through, Galan's misguided ambitions of guardianship, Everness is presented with its greatest threat yet and the certainty of being overthrown by the evil powers from the dark realms.

Without the seven sacred items, nothing can be done to save humanity. Galan must choose to defy his grandfather and seek out these items or stand and watch as the world becomes the resting place of darkness and despair.

In a strange twist of fate, Wendy and her husband Raven, son of Raven, become entangled in helping Galan. It is through their efforts and family members who have previously shunned the responsibility of the oath, that all Earth may be saved. Good and evil have a war to fight and Everness is the battleground they intend to fight it on!

John C. Wright is best known for his Science Fiction books. He has branched out into the genre of fantasy and blended a mix of high fantasy, horror and contemporary urban fantasy that resulted in the Everness series.

While I found a handful of the chapters absorbing, overall I found Wright's prose to be waylaid by archaic imaginings of how fantasy characters should talk. The narrative tone drowned out any story with its overuse of what has happened and what is written in past as opposed to gleaning the information in a less saturated manner.

The only character I really liked was Wendy because of her Fey ramblings about her previous flying exploits and her maniacally indefatigable cheerfulness. Her character offered a welcome break from the over-informative dialogue.

Many references were pushed rather than hinted at and it all felt a little too forced to be a worthy read. Arthurian legend mixed with Caliban tradition and spiced with a little occultism, then strained against a modern day America background. Information overload left me rubbing my temples and hoping for a swift retreat to the end.

While some may find this style of writing high fantasy set within an accessibly modern canvas. I sadly find it showing anything but an overindulgent knowledge that is thrusting squarely into the reader's mind without the necessary writing subtleties fantasy should entail.

Relief was offered in the way that Galan, taken over by the wizard, Azreal de Gray, spoke in the modern world. It became quickly apparent that this was a cheap laugh to be had while in the throws of a high fantasy sprawl, by this point though I had had enough of the myriad of traditions written into the plot in a heavy-handed way.

If you like high fantasy and can cope with so much information that it hurts your head and makes you read over several pages for clarity, then this is the book for you. All those against that idea follow me and I'll show you some better, far more suitable reading material from two other urban fantasists! Come on, this way!

Donna Jones

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