tl;dr : Bad Faith is a properly epic conclusion to a great irreverent fantasy series
Before I get further into the book, let us look at its precursors. Fool’s Gold was great with its USP being irreverent humour. False Idols’ USP was its world building and excellent characters. And now, Bad Faith has excellent storytelling & plot twists as its stand-out features. This series has been brilliant for a number of reasons and the primary one is how each book changes its tone so much while retaining the essentials – characters, writing, pacing, plot & world building. If for nothing else, you ought to read this series just to how masterful Jon Hollins has been in crafting this evolution in his books.
Coming to Bad Faith itself. It reminded me of Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods quite a bit.
There are a lot of common elements with the previous books. There is balls to the wall action. Will Farrow’s plans, even when they do not work, are properly manic and brilliant. Balur is, well being, Balur. The writing is excellent (did I not mention it before?).
There is far less humour here than in the previous books and this bummed me out quite a bit. I dearly missed this trademark humour, but, the author compensates for this disappointment by weaving a complicated plot with a lot of twists and turns. The story becomes grim and serious quite soon, which I admit, took me some time to adjust too. Some of the characters become corrupted by power with the consequences of their actions laid bare for all to see.
The climax was great and I definitely did not see the twist that was coming. The ending was mostly good (*cough* Small Gods *cough*) but I think Jon Hollins could have made it better by sticking to the tone of this book. There are some elements of magic hand waving that happens. And some characters (my favourite) do not get a mention at the end. But, these are minor quibbles in the greater scheme of things.
If you want to know whether I recommend this book, let me just share this. I had to savour each and every page and I forced myself to read slowly so that the book did not get over too fast. That’s how engrossed I was.
Also published on Medium.