Sunday, October 31, 2010

Game of Cages by Harry Connolly

I meant to finish reading a book of ghost stories to review today, since it's Halloween, but I made the mistake of picking this one up and had to read the whole thing. Maybe I'll get to the ghost stories later. I finished Game of Cages very late and went straight to bed last night, and it gave me really weird dreams.

Game of Cages is the sequel to Child of Fire, which I read just a few days ago. I don't usually read sequels immediately after reading the previous books. This series is too amazing to resist, though.

This book picks up about eight months after the events of the last one. Ex-con Ray Lilly is living with his aunt and working in a grocery store, but when an investigator for the mysterious Twenty Palaces Society shows up, he jumps at the chance to help them out again. Someone has summoned and bound a monster and is auctioning it off to the highest bidder; the Society plan to gather information on those attending the auction so they can strike later. But when Ray and the investigator arrive, something's gone horribly wrong. The monster has escaped and is headed for the nearest town. The bidders are searching for it and eliminating their competition at the same time--and they're just as happy to kill Ray too.

Game of Cages holds up well against the first book, which was brilliant. It's not as tightly plotted (although it's better plotted than most stories of this kind) and much of the action consists of searching for the monster and discovering bodies. The body count is staggering, which strained my credulity a bit. Still, it works, and Connolly's monsters are possibly the creepiest I've read outside of Lovecraft.

Ray's struggles with himself and with the difficult job he's accepted are fascinating. We get a little more information about the world and how magic works too, which I like. It's obvious that the series is building to something to do with the Society. I'm looking forward to the next book and will definitely read it as soon as it comes out.

B&N link


Richard said...

I've got both of these by Connolly in my already-read-and-need-to-review pile. But you've saved me the trouble, as your summary was right along mine: very good stuff, excellent pacing, interesting characters, minor flaws but nothing substantial. Like you I chewed through one quickly and picked up the sequel the next day.

Looking forward to a long series. :)

K.C. Shaw said...

We finally find a series we both love! The whole time I was reading them, I kept wondering if you'd read them yet. I'm glad you have. :)