The first installment in “The Awakened” trilogy was an atmospheric, tense page-turner of a story.
Now comes the final installment of the trilogy and I can’t help but be reminded of how Star Trek infamously had to “de-fang” the Borg a bit in order to keep the popular adversaries coming back.
Picking up a year after the second installment left off, “Obliteration” finds the creatures suddenly swarming from their nests and exterminating any human being unlucky enough to be caught in their path. Humanity has only one hope — VanNess is holding one final card and he’s willing to play it, for a price.
If you’ve read the series until now, odds are you can easily deduce what the price is.
Now, I mention the Borg because that threat was neutralized a bit by the introduction of a queen-figure. So, if you’re reading this trilogy, you can figure out that there is a queen-figure and eliminating her is the key to stopping the creatures once and for all. And an army of hybrid soldiers that VanNess has created and hidden at a secret base in Antarctica.
There’s a couple of new characters who come into play in this installment, though I sort of deduced early why and how they would play a role in the final battle.
Look — a lot of stuff happens over the course of this novel. And perhaps I didn’t pay enough attention in the second installment, but it feels like a lot of what’s introduced here just comes out of left field. The sense of terror and dread that pervaded the first novel is diminished quite a bit and what’s left is a lot of pages of gore piled on top of gore. Sure, I found myself rooting for humanity to win — but, it’s not like I can root for the monsters tearing us all limb from limb every chance they get.
I wanted this series to go out on a high note. Alas, this was just a pretty good note.
I’m glad it’s wrapped up but I honestly don’t feel like I want or need to spend more time in this universe.
I will say that if you’re a fan of James S. Murray from Impractical Jokers, there are (once again) Easter eggs if you know your lore about the group and Murr’s life in particular.