The Wheel of Osheim is the third and last book in The Red Queen’s War series by Mark Lawrence.
The Wheel of Osheim is turning faster than ever, and it will crack the world unless it’s stopped. And Jalan is just the man for the job, even though he tries to convince everyone he isn’t. Jalan and Snorri face danger upon danger, from the minions the Dead King, the mysterious Lady Blue, to the horrors of Hell itself. The Wheel must be stopped. Nothing else, and no one else matters.
The last book ended on a whopper of a cliffhanger, and this one begins with Jalan escaping Hell to land in the middle of a desert. And he’s not keen on telling anyone, or remembering anything, from his time in Hell. It gets you right back into the action, and though you wonder what happened during the time Jalan was “missing”, you’re content to enjoy the ride. At least I was.
It was great getting a couple of Easter Eggs in this book, which I won’t spoil, but they reminded me how much The Broken Empire and The Red Queen’s War trilogies are connected. I wouldn’t mind going back to this world if Lawrence ever thinks of revisiting it.
The dead are a terrifying enemy, in any way or form. And Lawrence handles the horror of seeing dead men/women/children rise again and fight against our heroes exquisitely. I raced through the portions of the attack on Vermillion, and was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time. But there’s also something unbelievable about the dead rising and assaulting the living, and he captures that as well. That people are loath to listen to Jalan about the dead, and about what they have to do to make sure they don’t rise again (cremation), is absolutely believable. That some people would take the opportunity to seize power for themselves in the midst of pandemonium is as well.
I will say while accompanying Jalan on his journey back home, filled with both cowardice and heroics fueled by cowardice, I did feel a little antsy about Snorri’s whereabouts. The information about what happened in Hell trickles down in small portions, but Snorri was still alive in Hell, so why didn’t he escape with Jalan? And what happened after he got separated from his friend? You get the answers eventually, but that’s nearer to the end of the book. Kara and Hennan also show up late, but I’m glad they show up at all. It would be weird for them never to be seen or heard of again.
The ending is perfect in a way. Jalan goes back to his old life, having learned a little, but not quite enough. I simultaneously wanted to cheer and roll my eyes, but what can you do? Jalan will be Jalan, y’all.