Alex White concludes their hit Salvagers trilogy in spectacular fashion in, The Worst Of All Possible Worlds. Picking up months after the events of A Bad Deal For The Whole Galaxy, we find the intrepid crew of the Capricious still hot on the trail of the remaining Gods of the Harrow.
With nothing less than the fate of all life in the universe at stake, the gang must leverage their now considerable resources and elite proficiencies to once again unravel an ancient mystery and confront the elusive – and terrifyingly powerful – cabal of sorcerers responsible for the destruction of their home world.
Keeping in form with its predecessors, The Worst Of All Possible Worlds is a rollicking blend of eye-popping action, heartfelt drama and endearing comedy. White will have you laughing out loud in one chapter and tears welling in your eyes the next, interspersing such moments with thrill-ride sequences boasting set pieces so massive as to make a Death Star blush.
Darker in tone and more complex in structure relative to the previous entries, the series conclusion is, for me, easily the finest of the trilogy. Notably, the writing itself is at its best in this novel; verbose without pretension, vividly descriptive despite not wasting words, White presents a stellar example of high-paced storytelling, deftly executed.
Characterization was noticeably improved as well, at least in comparison to the middle book, which suffered in that regard. This time around, White wisely chooses to mostly forgo creating interpersonal conflicts between the characters, in favour of letting the drama of the story unfold and having personalities reveal and evolve in reaction, which felt considerably more organic than the previous effort and resulted in a heightened emotional connection to the story.
If forced to scrutinize for complaints, I would say the dialogue could at times feel sophomoric, though this was also frequently an endearing aspect. Specifically, the point-of-view character, Nilah Brio’s manner of speaking, grew somewhat laborious to endure, and at times felt more like schtick than genuine conversation. Another minor blemish is the considerable length of the action sequences; while certainly exciting and well-realized, I did sometimes find my mind wandering, eager to proceed to the next stage of the plot, as such moments dragged on.
Nevertheless, and despite some issues that plagued the second novel, this trilogy was an absolute joy to experience and The Worst Of All Possible Worlds is its crowning achievement. While undeniably derivative, I would contend that the quality and ingenuity of this work transcends, and in many ways surpasses, its inspirations to create something unique and wonderful that you should absolutely go and enjoy. TL;DR? Firefly meets Final Fantasy…do yourself a favour and pick up all three.
DISCLAIMER: I received an advance reader copy (ARC) of this novel to review on behalf of Grimdark Magazine. While this book, arguably, may not fall exactly into the mould of that genre, I am certain grimdark fans will appreciate its content.
Read The Worst of All Possible Worlds by Alex White