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Nightworld, by F. Paul Wilson
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Published: 2012
Review Posted: 3/21/2014
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Nightworld, by F. Paul Wilson

Book Review by Ray Wallace

Have you read this book?

It's the end of the world as we know it... Repairman Jack's world, that is. After fifteen books in F. Paul Wilson's popular and long running series which began with The Tomb, we have finally reached the end with a revised edition of Nightworld. An extensively revised edition of Nightworld, according to a forward by the book's author. As I never read the original version, published in the early nineties, I have no idea as to the true extent of the changes the story has undergone. Apparently, Jack's role within the book has been greatly increased which would only make sense as it is being marketed as a Repairman Jack novel. The final Repairman Jack novel. The one that longtime fans of the series (such as myself) have been waiting for. So, the question would be does this revised and updated Nightworld serve as a satisfying conclusion to Jack's story?

First, a little about the story itself...

(And, yes, for those of you who have not read the series up to this point there will be a few spoilers. You have been warned.)

The book begins a couple of months after The Dark at the End. Rasalom, the main bad guy throughout the series, has managed to kill a woman known as the Lady who has appeared to Jack in various guises throughout his life and, at one point in time, seemed to be immortal. More importantly, the Lady served a key role—as far as humanity was concerned—in the eons old battle between two vast and ancient entities known as the Ally and the Otherness. Apparently, living worlds are considered the spoils in this conflict with each side collecting as many as it can. The Earth belongs to the Ally, a being indifferent to the plight of humanity which is, however, a far cry better than the Otherness's active hostility. As long as the Lady was alive, the Ally saw the Earth as a piece worth holding onto. With her death it has turned its attention elsewhere leaving the door open for a takeover by the Otherness. To put it mildly, this is bad news for Jack and pretty much every other person walking the face of the planet.

The first sign that things have taken a turn for the worse is the fact that even though winter has passed the nights are growing progressively longer. With each morning the sun rises a little bit later; in the evening it sets earlier with every passing day. Eventually this will lead to a world of endless darkness, a world overseen by Rasalom and overrun by an assortment of monstrous creatures rising from the massive, seemingly bottomless holes that have started to appear at random where the ground has fallen away. One of these holes has formed next to a certain high rise building in downtown Manhattan, plainly visible from the window of an apartment belonging to an unimaginably old man who goes by the name of Glaecken. Where Rasalom is the agent of the Otherness, Glaecken is the agent of the Ally. The two have been locked in a conflict of their own for many centuries now and it's looking more and more like Rasalom is nearing victory. Glaecken has grown old and feeble in recent years while Rasalom has remained strong. This is why Glaecken has been preparing Jack to take up the fight against Rasalom and, by extension, the Otherness. Jack is the Heir, it seems, the only one capable of thwarting the coming catastrophe and turning back the endless night.

Of course, some things can never go quite as planned...

And to say more about the story would be, I think, to give too much away. What I would like to do at this point of the review is get back to the earlier question raised: Is Nightworld a fitting conclusion to the Repairman Jack saga, one that will leave the fans satisfied knowing that all the books have led to this?

Well, I would have to say yes and no. Undoubtedly, the book serves as a fun and entertaining read. F. Paul Wilson once again showcases his easy, fluent style here, effortlessly pulling the reader along throughout the roller coaster ride of a plot. The story jumps back and forth between several different perspectives, detailing the plights of characters caught up in the horrors that have been unleashed upon the ever darkening planet. That being said, my real problem with Nightworld is that it doesn't feel like a Repairman Jack novel. All of the books leading up to this point were, first and foremost, about Jack, usually centered around a "fix" that he had to perform in order to set things right. Sure, there is some of that here but it all seems secondary to everything else that is going on. There is a major stylistic difference here too: Where the earlier books were thrillers with horror elements added to them, Nightworld is much more of a straightforward supernatural horror novel. I will say that I applaud Mr. Wilson's efforts to tie all of the myriad "Secret History" books together in this grand finale, and I'm sure that if I had read Nightworld upon its initial release I would have enjoyed it more. But within the context it was experienced, with all the inevitable expectations instilled by the previous books, I can't help but feel slightly disappointed with this final installment in the Repairman Jack saga.

Overall, it was a great series though. And the good news is that we can look forward to three more books set before The Tomb detailing Jack's early days in Manhattan. So it would seem that the ride isn't completely over after all...
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