Review: The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

baxter the long warThe Long War

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

423 pages

Published in June 2013 by HarperCollins

Source: Public Library

It’s been ten years since Lobsang and Joshua Valienté’s trip through the Long Earth, the millions of parallel Earths next to our own. Since then, humanity has spread out through these new and dangerous worlds, changing the way they see themselves and each other. Not everything has changed though. In these new worlds some humans treat “trolls”, the kind and musical humanoids that have existed in the Long Earth, with contempt and cruelty. As the trolls retreat from the Long Earth, it becomes obvious that something essential is missing. It’s now up to Joshua, along with a few others, to try and bring the trolls back.

In The Long Earth, the previous book in the series, readers were introduced to the concept of stepping: the ability to transport either naturally or with the help of a metal box to parallel worlds. Much of the book was spent with readers getting used to the idea of stepping along with the various situations that this ability could cause.  The Long War continues with that strength but it lacks balance.

There are so many subplots in The Long War from the possibility of war between the old American government and new settlers over taxes and power to the missing trolls to various expeditions through the new worlds. There are still about five other subplots I can talk about. While it’s all interesting, I found it hard to get attached to any one character or subplot.

I think the problem has to do with the plot being so huge and there’s so much to explore. It would certainly take more books to explore it all but I hope the authors let us get to know and follow the characters more in the upcoming books. My rating: 3 ½ out of 5 stars.

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