The Last Guardian of Everness

The Last Guardian of Everness

by John C. Wright

Now, in The Last Guardian of Everness, this exciting and innovative writer proves that his talents extend beyond SF, as he offers us a powerful novel of high fantasy set in the modern age.

Young Galen Waylock is the last watchman of the dream-gate beyond which ancient evils wait, hungry for the human world.

Galen's patient loyalty seems vindicated.

The so-called Power of Light is hostile to modern ideas of human dignity and liberty.

No matter who wins the final war between darkness and light, mankind is doomed either to a benevolent dictatorship or a malevolent one.

And so Galen makes a third choice: the sleeping Champions of Light are left to sleep.

An ambitious and beautifully written story, The Last Guardian of Everness is an heroic adventure that establishes John Wright as a significant new fantasist.

What People Think about "The Last Guardian of Everness"

By this point in his career (that is, early), Wright had been primary known for his "Golden Age" SF series and his foray into fantasy was a bit of a curve-ball for fans who probably expected more space opera stuff. Wright himself seems to have a high opinion of his own series, resulting in something I don't think I've ever seen before where the first pull quote on the page of glowing reviews is the author basically saying how awesome the work is, promising a book for "readers weary of nostalgia pastoral setting and who object to the threadbare fantasy themes, that technology is wicked and democracy is folly . The first in a two book series, it focuses on the Waylock family who for thousands of years have stood as guardians before the gate before the dream worlds where evils wait to come in and gobble up all the stuff that dream worlds presumably don't have, like Big Macs and selfie sticks. Its a interesting backstory for an epic but for quite a while in the book it seems that all Wright has is backstory as we're constantly parceled out information in short chapters that hint at the bad times that could come someday without any nods toward a forward motion that would imply the plot is going to start at some point. The two of them get mixed up with the Waylock family as after what feels like a long time and really circuitously it feels like all hell finally breaks loose and suddenly dreams and myths and magic wands and people and guns are all vying for supremacy in a mix that can only kindly be called "everything at once" as Wright seems determined to smash every single mythical concept together while attempting to create some of his own in the process. Almost everyone's dialogue comes across as stilted or way too earnest (the few scenes Galen and Wendy have together are almost excruciating) and while there's some comedy with a character speaking all Olde High Fantasy while inhabiting a normal person's body, that moment is unfortunately too fleeting. And just when you're maybe starting to feel like you're in a fantasy book populated by actual people the characters start to sneak in pedantic comments about the Constitution or America that starts to make you wonder if Wright is intending this toward all the Communist fantasy literature that apparently exists on the bestseller lists. The work clearly wants to believe its doing something innovative and different but its still good versus evil, half the cast still talks like fantasy characters, guns aren't that effective, and the resolutions will eventually come down to people collecting magic items and shouting sleep spells at each other, which with the addition of pizza and tiny figurines could be mistaken for almost any Dungeons and Dragons session I've ever played in.

It opens with young Galen waking from a dream and going to tell his grandfather Lemuel about it, and the warning it brings. Meanwhile Raven talks in the hospital with his dying wife Wendy, telling the tale of how he got his name (and his father escaped the USSR).

The fact of the matter is that I was blown away by the initial dream sequence and spent the rest of the book wanting to get back to the dream world to escape the spiraling complexity and confusion of the plot.

Steeped, almost drowning, in surrealism and references and symbolism, it took me a while to grok what was going on, to piece together the lore and the shape of the world that Wright was creating, but when things started to click it became really fascinating.

The beginning is very slow and it takes some time to get into the book.

The premise of this book was interesting but I find the writing style a bit simplistic and hard to get into at times.