The Age of Unreason
by J. Gregory Keyes
DVader316's Rating: 4 out of 4
J. Gregory Keyes' four book series called the Age of Unreason is an epic fantasy which redefines the genre in which it has been placed. It is hard to say exactly what category The Age of Unreason should be filed under, considering it contains both sci fi and fantasy, swordfights and gunbattles, quite possibly every element which would normally separate the two genres in the first place. But that is what makes Keyes' series so unique, the fact that all of the usual 'rules' rules of reality and fantasy which we have known it are thrown away.
The story takes place in the first quarter of the eighteenth century, during a time when alchemical, or 'scientifical' weaponry and equipment are the norm. All of this is largely due to the work of Sir Isaac Newton, whose experiments with a substance known as philosophers mercury has helped him gain insight into how to control nonphysical elements through the aether. This has awakened those who would rather not see these philosophers -- or more accurately, mankind -- make such advances and discoveries. These creatures are called the malakim, different varieties of 'angels' and other sorts of demons who each have their own plans for mankind, most equally as terrible.
Enter Benjamin Franklin, who, through various experiments and theorizing, discovers the malakims' plan to destroy mankind. Although the malakim do not make their prescence known just yet, Franklin is lead to believe King Louis' philosophers have managed to summon a comet to destroy London. Eventually he leaves Boston for London and becomes Newton's apprentice, but it is too late stop the comet. London, and eventually the world, are thrown into an apocolypse, a second ice age, by the malakim and the comet. But these creatures of the aether are not through with humanity yet, and it is up to Franklin and his motley group of friends to save mankind before it is destroyed by forces we cannot even see.
Keyes is able to tell a grand story on an epic scale without confusing the reader or boring one with monotonous historical jargon. His characters are deep and believable, especially considering the situations they are in. Keyes covers all ends of the spectrum character wise, from infantry men to philosophers, Indians to pirates, French and Russian, the list go on. My one gripe is that two of the major French characters are extremely annoying and whiny, two very obvious character flaws . Ill leave it to the reader to discover whom I meant.
Overall I thought The Age of Unreason was an excellent series. The plot was original and interesting, the villains mysterious yet intriguing. The detail was great and even the smallest subplots were exciting. The action was always at a fever pace, but most of all realistic, showing the horrors of war, especially over two hundred and fifty years ago. I highly recommend this exciting and emotionally charged series, I am almost certain that you will not regret it. Enjoy !