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Book Review / A Dance of Lies (The Outlands Pentalogy #4) by Rebecca Crunden

Um, might contain spoilers, but to be fair, if you're this far in the series, you're probably not even reading this review before you read the book, because why would you be? So, meh.

Currently I don't know what to do with myself. I have been suffering a fairly robust reading fatigue since finishing this book, and only the very best stories do this to me. By reading fatigue, I mean I am finding it impossible to find another novel to find interest in at the moment. I've had to revert back to George Orwell (not that it's a chore, I bloody love him), who is a constant and persistent surprise at any time, to be able to read anything at all. However, I have been endlessly inspired to get back to my own work, now dry (writing) December has passed.

Would you believe it's only the penultimate in the tale? Bloody. Hell.

What was really fab about ADoL was the fact that (from the POV of Kitty again, until it isn't, hehe) I almost forgot that there was even a Kingdom. The happenings of the little groups of Radiants and their new kin was calm and peaceful (until it wasn't), revealing and exciting (and it was lovely to have my suspicions about Riddle confirmed), and the Kingdom, including the characters who retreated back to it, were basically a memory.

We got a bit more of an insight into the culture and beliefs of those over The Wall, and added tension from the prevailing threat of Quen. There were lots of untruths and untold secrets coming out along the way (hence the title, eh?), but even though this book seemed a bit more laid back in comparison to (especially) #2 and #3, it was all a trick! To lull us into a (variable) calm before that friggin' ending!

I must confess, however, that I have a very special place in my heart for poor Nate. Bullheaded, passionate, straightforward, these are hard traits to have understood (from personal experience...), and it was very hard seeing all of those around him emotionally pummel him down. Though I love Thom and Riddle, I wanted to slap them both in one scene. And Kitty. I get her reticence, but she also deserved said slap. However, the selfishness of her previous life still held sway over her, which is a fab character detail. Cause, you know, Nate's not the kind of guy you want coming at you in a fight... You want him on your side. Kind of like the Shire horse in Animal Farm. He's taken for granted! Not sure I could deal with the same fate for Nate.

The fact I'm so affected by this stuff is partially the reason I can't read anything else at the moment. The fate of all these characters is really, really important in my fiction life. This isn't because it's some YA series with stupid teenage angsty romance, it's because it's fantastically written, grounded characterisation, with complex emotional and situational backdrops. It really isn't every day you get to read a series like this in adult fiction, and especially dystopian fiction which is commonly being used (or abused) as a tool to preach ideologies. It hasn't happened thus far in the series, the viewpoints of all characters have been attended to, and it's what raises the Outlands Pentalogy above other books or series in the genre.

I am as excited for the finale as I am dreading it, because not only will I know what happens, but that will be the last part...


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