You can see Carl’s Part 3 post, and the links to the other blogs taking part, here.
This week we have read up to the end of the book.
There are no specific questions this week. Carl has asked for our overall impressions instead.
One of the things that I remembered very clearly from watching the series back in 1996 was that Islington was the bad guy. I remember that this was a real shock at the time. I did not remember Hunter selling them out, although this came very shortly afterward, so perhaps I was still reeling from his deception when I saw it. I was very disappointed in Hunter and surprised that she did not manage to defeat the Beast: I can only assume that her underhand method of obtaining the Spear meant that it did not work properly for her.
I found Lamia a little unnecessary: she seemed to be there simply to move the plot along when the group could have got the information some other way. I suppose she also served to split the group in half, so that the Messers could not find both keys at the same time, but the Beast could have done that. However, the scene with Richard on the plank trying to overcome his fear of heights was excellent. I could feel his bowel-clenching fear and sympathize with him every step of the way.
Door’s trick to defeat Islington and the Messers was a surprise, and the tension leading up to it was very well done. However, it seemed a little contrived, especially as Door had not mentioned any suspicions about Islington. I was quite surprised by how I actually felt slightly sorry for Messers Croup and Vandemar as they got sucked out into space. After all, they had not set out to hurt Door’s family because of their own psychotic tendencies: they were acting under orders from Islington. Yes, I know that they are crazed murderers, but they do seem to have some sort of code of honor and it was rather touching that Mr Vandemar chose to follow Mr Croup rather than be separated from him.
The whole sequence involving the Marquis’ body was rather disgusting but I was very impressed that he had deliberately allowed himself to be killed in order to gain information: that seemed to be going above and beyond any favor that he owed to Door’s father. He turned out to be a much more honest and reliable person than the persona he conveyed at the beginning of the book, and I can understand why Old Bailey has such respect and affection for him. I thought the mystery box with its elegant blue egg was very intriguing: I wonder how easy they are to acquire. It would seem that such methods of resurrection are fairly common in London Below, as he asks Hunter if she has one prepared. At the end I was very impressed by the Marquis’ courage and dedication, which was a nice surprise.
I was a little disappointed that Richard decided to return to London Above, especially as Door now has the task of finding her sister. It was nice that the world he returned to provided some sort of compensation for all his trouble, with the promotion at work. I particularly liked his handling of the letting agent: it must be harsh having to take a penthouse suite! I was not at all surprised that he no longer felt comfortable in his old life: he had gone through too much to return to it successfully. I was pleased that Jessica also seemed to have learnt from her experiences a little. The ending was satisfying and it was good to see the Marquis returned to full health.
Overall, this was a fun read, although I felt like it was a little lacking in depth. I would have preferred fewer characters and settings so that we could have learnt more about each of them. I do wonder if the original idea was for more than one series. I am left with far too many questions and ideas that I want to explore, which is vaguely dissatisfying.