First of all, my excuses. This is, as you may remember, the book I have bought my brother for Christmas. The thing is, the damned boy went and borrowed it from the school library, We’ve already dissuaded him from buying it in shops on the count that it’ll be cheaper when it comes out in paperback. Well, when he’s borrowed it free you can’t use that one. He actually asked me whether I’d like to read it or not, as he doesn’t have to give it back until January. I haven’t touched the copy I bought for my brother, so I didn’t really read his book. Therefore, I haven’t gone back on what I said about not reading it before he (he read the borrowed one first, too). Pat Blair – please don’t take that gold star away!
Oblivion is the last book in the Power of Five ‘quadrilogy’, and it’s a hefty book. Over twice the size of Necropolis, and probably three times the size of the first two books. This is a good thing, as it lasted me a bit longer and allowed me to get really stuck into the book. I haven’t hand a big long book to get into recently, and whilst I probably should have left it for the Christmas break I still appreciated it. Anybody that enjoys Horowitz and/or thee Power of Five books should be getting excited now, as it’s a real pleasure to read and get into.
At the beginning of Oblivion, the Five have all been separated due to the disaster in Hong Kong (Necropolis) and are scattered far and wide across the globe. Well, Scott and Pedro managed to keep together, for all the good it does. The five are as scattered as they have ever been, yet they still begin to try to meet again. They have one advantage, and that is the dreamworld. They can still meet their sometimes, and it still gives its ominous warnings. One of the five has been beaten though, and turns his back on his companions. He takes up with the Old Ones, and there’s no prizes for guessing who. The word is out though, and the word is Antarctica. People have been dreaming, they have heard the rumours, that humanity’s last stand will be there, and that is where the Five are headed too.
The plot of Oblivion starts more or less exactly where Necropolis finishes, in that from the point of view of the Five is it instantaneous. In passing through the doors though, ten years has gone by for the rest of the world. I think I can see why Horowitz decided to do this. When Jamie goes back to the Old world in Nightrise, it is at its feet and about to fail. In Necropolis, the world is fairly normal. Only Hong Kong, where the Old Ones were based is taken. If the world was still normal, then it would seem all too easy for the Five to get together and make a circle, or go to Antarctica. They could just hop on a plane, or communicate via telephones. Seeing as there is no internet, no transport and everybody is suspicious, it’s very hard for the Five to make allies. Obviously, one of the Five turns ‘evil’ in a not-so-surprising plot twist. If it was all going easy for the Five, there would be no impetus behind his decision to betray his allies.
There is a lot of perspective swapping throughout the book. This is because all of the Five have been separated, and Horowitz needs to give a sense of them all trying to get back together at once. It only takes a few seconds to work out whose eyes your looking through though, and the narrative voice itself does change through the book, going from first person to omniscient. I don’t think the plot is hard to follow; in fact I enjoyed the approach – it felt dynamic and impressive.
We’ve known the Five for quite a while now. In fact, Raven’s Gate was first published in 2005, so there’s a potential seven years. This means that Horowitz has had a lot of time to develop and evolve his characters, and I feel that he has done this well. Matt especially has matured a lot, and I think we get to see him in his own right now he has been separated from Richard Cole and partnered with the ruthless Lohan. It’s very refreshing to enjoy reading about the characters again, as I thought Necropolis was all very drab, as you know. Horowitz manipulates his characters in ways that he has not done so before, showing off new aspects of their personalities. It doesn’t make them seem to be doing things out of character, which can happen towards the end of a long series. To be honest, the characters are as good as they have ever been and better, and that’s all that needs to be said.
Oblivion is a very worthy end to a series I have really enjoyed for years. Something that some people think about in reading the Power of Five is how dissimilar it is to Alex Rider, Horowitz’ other bestselling series. Sometimes it seems as though an author has struggled to let go of their previous books and there are elements of old characters or similar plot twists in separate books. This isn’t so in Oblivion, or any of the Power of Five books. In fact, I hardly associate the Power of Five with Alex Rider at all, it’s almost like two separate authors. I think everybody that enjoys fiction and fantasy should definitely read the Power of Five books; it’s a long series and the five books together will keep you happy for a long long time.
I’m going to give Oblivion a 9/10 – I really, really enjoyed it and I think most other people would too. There are barely any parts of the book I was unhappy with. There’s also a good few plot twists.