Published: 16 November 2017
Publisher: The Dome Press
Category: Fantasy/Middle Grade
The Universe is coming apart at the seams.
As Jonathan and his friends fight to save it, their every move is being watched from the shadows. Lilith, the last Archdemon, has plans of her own, and with the legendary Michael’s Spear under her control Jonathan has never faced a more lethal foe.
With the odds stacked against him, Jonathan will need all the help he can get if he is to fulfil his destiny.
It’s time for Gabriel’s grandson to finally spread his wings…
Welcome to the End. It’s time for Jonathan, the half-angel half-demon grandson of Gabriel, to face his destiny at last.
Thank you to the publisher for including me on the blog tour and to Hilton Pashley for their feature piece, written specially for The Hermit Librarian and shared with you all here today.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
‘Everything has to come to an end, sometime.’
L. Frank Baum, The Marvellous Land of Oz
So begins the final story in the Hobbes End trilogy, with a foreboding quote followed by leaping right into the machinations of Lilith, the villain of the piece, monologue-ing as all good villains do, to one of her minions.
With the Universe coming to an end, it may seem an odd time to join our hero Jonathan on his quest to save the world, but luckily Michael’s Spear can be read as a standalone novel. While Gabriel’s Clock and Sammael’s Wings would, of course, expand upon his adventures and journey to this point, I don’t think readers coming in at this point will have difficulty picking up with the half-demon, half-angel on his final quest. There are some comments made in conversation, some allusions to previous events that I wasn’t quite sure about, but overall was able to cobble together from context and reading onward a bit.
I have to wonder if more familiarity with the series would help with the odd feeling I had that this book wasn’t quite middle grade. The original press release I got for Michael’s Spear identified it as such, but had I not known that I would have been hesitant to place it there myself based on the voice of the characters. They seemed older somehow.
Moving on from that, as to what I read solely in this story, I loved Elgar the cat. He was a snarky pet who washed up in the sink and was quite mischievous, a demon of sorts that seems like he was voicing quite a lot of what ordinary cats would if they had human speech abilities.
There was a good amount of humor coming from all corners. Even the baddies had a quip or two, which I liked because it helped keep the tone pretty light. It balanced out the other, more intense moments, for there was also loss and sacrifice, moments when it felt like not everyone would see the end. There was a lot to learn from the characters and their choices and one lesson in particular?
Never underestimate the power of a good cricket bat. 😉
Hilton Pashley’s Feature Peace – Thought and Memory
Just like Odin’s ravens, Huginn and Muninn, it never ceases to surprise me that the ideas for what I put in my books often comes from snippets of memory; usually tucked away in some corner of my brain where nobody has dusted for quite some time. Michael’s Spear, the last in the Hobbes End trilogy and preceded by Gabriel’s Clock and Sammael’s Wings, has in part been built from things I have seen, heard and read over more years than I would care to count.
The village of Hobbes End, the central location for the story, is hidden deep within a forest, with one road in and one road out. It wasn’t until I’d finished Gabriel’s Clock that I realised I’d based it on Heydon, a private estate village just North of Norwich that I’d visited with my parents when I was in my teens. When I was searching for a form for the archdemon Lilith – the antagonist in Michael’s Spear – I remembered a monster from a game of Dungeons and Dragons I’d played one rainy afternoon with school friends. It gave me the shivers then and Lilith gives me the shivers now. No spoilers of course, but, here there be spiders…
In building a world in which to set a story, inspiration came from obvious sources such as the books I read as a child. Narnia, Middle Earth, Gormenghast Castle, Earthsea, they all sucked me in and held me tight, dipping me in an environment that the author had painstakingly created. When it was time to fashion my own land – far far away but also just around the corner – I wanted to feel the same way as I did when I’d first discovered these magical places. It is here that thought and memory play their part, unconsciously sifting through the minutiae of a lifetime’s experience for things that may be of use. From the loving arrogance shown to me by a pet cat, to flying a huge kite on the beach, no experience is ever wasted if it’s potential material for scribbling.
When I do a school visit, the children inevitably ask me where I get my ideas from. My answer of ‘everywhere and nowhere’ is probably quite irritating, but it’s true. My advice to them is to read everything, get their noses out of their smartphones and pay attention to the world around them; you never know when the most ordinary of moments may turn into the most extraordinary of journeys.
Thanks to Hilton for sharing their insight into thoughts, memories, and inspiration. It was fascinating to see where Jonathan’s adventures came from in the earliest forms.
Now that you’ve seen my take on this final book in the Hobbes End series, please be sure to check out the other stops on the tour!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.