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After a pretty average opening, a below par second installment, it would be nice to report that the final part of the UNSEEN trilogy pulls things round and goes out on a high.

Unfortunately, the truth is very different.  Not only do Holder and Mariotte not manage to pull the trilogy round, but they've served up what is undoubtedly the worst entry into either the BUFFY or ANGEL novels range.

There are problems with almost everything in LONG WAY HOME, especially the plot and the characterisation.

As with the first two books, Holder and Mariotte throw almost every regular and recurring character still standing at the end of the 1999-2000 seasons, presumably in the belief that this somehow makes for an epic story.

It doesn't, at least in this case.  In one sense, there's far too much going on, or at least far too many different storylines, as we flit from one set of characters to another.  However, the authors' main crime is that none of these strands are interesting, and I found my interest badly flagging with at least half the novel still to go.

The numerous and lengthy fight scenes don't help on this score either.  You would expect that a pair of experienced writers would have realised that these don't really work on paper, yet LONG WAY HOME follows the first two parts of the trilogy by being simply packed with them.  It might have provided Holder and Mariotte with a handy way of reaching their allotted page count, but it makes for very tedious reading, as do the scenes involving dragons and suchlike.

Yet in another sense, there's not enough going on.  Too many characters seem to have been included simply because it's a crossover novel rather than because the authors came up with anything for them to actually do - Tara and Willow mentally hold hands across California while the latter continues her rise into SuperWitch, Xander and Anya bicker a lot, Giles does virtually nothing and the less said about the Spike storyline, the better.

Whilst some of this may be in keeping with the show, it's not particularly interesting, and even the late arrival of Faith doesn't provide the last half of the novel with the added impetus that it might have done.

In part this was because the authors don't appear to particular like the character, but it's mostly because she was pretty much surplus to requirements.  The narrative gives us a reason why she's needed, but it just seemed like an excuse to give Gunn and Riley something to do.    

If anything, the novel's original characters are even worse.  There's plenty of description about what people are wearing, but none of them make any real impact on the reader.

As a trilogy, perhaps UNSEEN was doomed to failure, with too many characters to include in the storyline, but even so Holder and Mariotte could, and should, have done a lot better than this.

For anyone who's bought the first two novels, this is a disappointing and boring end to a pretty uninteresting saga, while those who haven't bought the earlier books would be well advised to steer well clear of all three. BACK TO THE TOP

UNSEEN: BOOK 3
LONG WAY HOME

Written by NANCY HOLDER
and JEFF MARIOTTE

POCKET BOOKS

5.99


RATING: 2/10


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