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The Humbled

The Humbled - Igor Ljubuncic This is the fourth and the last book of the series. I will try to minimize the spoilers while describing plot, but it is practically impossible to do at this point, so I apologize if you feel I spoil too much.

A demi-god is about to have his revenge on the population of the realms. He has a huge (and I do mean - huge) obedient army of outsiders with an order not to leave any survivors in the conquered land. What the army lacks in fighting skills, it more than makes up in the numbers. After all even in the modern warfare one can stop tanks with sufficient number of unarmed people provided you do not care about the casualties.

The people being conquered have their own problems that prevent them from doing the only reasonable response to their extermination and unite against the threat. They try to gain an upper hand in the chaos, use the opportunity to grab some land, money, or even a kingdom or two - for especially ambitions.

They also brood a lot; not to the extent of people in Malazan universe by Steven Erikson (absolutely nothing can top that amount of brooding), but they do their share. This brings me to the only weak part of the book.

Anton Chekhov wrote in his letter to his brother, "Brevity is the soul of wit". The guy became a classic of literature whose main strength was in short stories, so he really knew what he was talking about. Sadly these words are mostly ignored by modern writers. Not being a writer I am not very familiar with how the professional editors work, but I notice the following. As soon as a writer becomes popular enough one of the two things happen: either he/she feels the suggestions of the editors regarding the length can be ignored, or the editors themselves feel hesitant to make such a recommendation.

For the well-knows examples of this look no further than George R.R. Martin and Stephen King. Count the number of pages in their early works and do the same for the later ones; I rest my case. I have a feeling Igor Ljubuncic reached that amount of popularity. He seems to be a nice guy, so I am genuinely and wholeheartedly happy for him, but the fact remains that some of the brooding could be cut off without sacrificing anything except for the length.
It is not bad enough for me to reduce the rating though.

Now that I am done with my criticism I would like to get to positive sides. The character development is excellent, especially if you trace it through the whole series. The said characters stay around long enough to develop and become interesting - before dying in some cases.

The author himself describes the series as grimdark, but it belongs to the lighter part of that genre. I became a little overfed on grim and dark lately, but the series and this book in particular worked fine for me. Sure this world is both grim and dark, but not just for the sake of being such.

It was also interesting to observe the themes developed in the whole series, like religion and relationships between the gods and their worshipers. Another interesting one is the influence of a single (often lowly) individual in the outcome of global history of the humankind.

My rating for this book is 4 stars with the rating of the whole series almost as high. I am curious to see what else Igor Ljubuncic has in store for his readers.