The Way of Sorrows by Jon Steele
Please note The Way of Sorrows is the final part of The Angelus Trilogy. If you haven’t read books one and two then it is highly likely, I can almost guarantee it, that there will be spoilers in the review that follows. With that said, enter at your own risk.
The earthly—and cosmic—adventures of Katherine Taylor and Jay Harper come to an electrifying, action-packed conclusion in The Way of Sorrows, the final installment of Jon Steele’s critically acclaimed Angelus Trilogy.
Sadly all good things must come to an end. I felt slightly conflicted when I started reading The Way of Sorrows. Part of me wanted to know how this story was going to pan out, things have been building towards an epic conclusion since book one, but another part of me was dreading that there was going to be an end at all. I love it when I connect to a book, or series of books, like this. An author has proven their worth as far as I am concerned if I am actively concerned about what happens next to a character.
When The Way of Sorrows begins, the ultimate evil that has been working in the shadows for millennia is finally revealed. Across the world, traps have been sprung for the angelic half breeds and those that are aware of their existence. With the descendants of angels gone, there is little to stop the coming apocalypse but a small group comprised of a deceased ex-soldier, a whacked out roadie, a former prostitute and her young son. This is where Steele excels; his characters are brilliant fun. I’ll happily admit that I’ll miss the eclectic group of misfits the author has assembled. Jay Harper with his sardonic wit and world-weary view, Krinkle with his ‘magic bus’ and cosmically mind-bending attitude toward everything. Katherine Taylor has also proven to be an engaging lead, her determination and steadfast refusal to accept her lot in life and make things better for her son Max has always came across as entirely genuine. Hell, I’ll even miss the man in the camel coat, Inspector Gobet, and the ever mysterious Monsieur Booty.
My only criticism, and it is a very minor one, is that I would have liked to have learned more about Komarovsky, the villain of the piece. I can appreciate that he needs to be enigmatic up to a point, but I just felt a bit more of his back story could/should have been revealed. He has been hiding in the shadows for so long learning more about him would have been a bonus.
The Way of Sorrows ends on a beautifully bittersweet note and I have thoroughly enjoyed this series of books. The author has proven he has a natural talent for pacing and maintaining a reader’s interest with an engrossing plot. Characters like Marc Rochat (I still miss him), last seen in book one, resonate throughout the entire narrative. His presence is felt right up until the final pages of this book.
I suspect that Steele’s work could easily be viewed on multiple levels. Most straightforwardly this could be seen as a thriller, with some supernatural elements, but it is when you start to dig a bit deeper you realise that there is much more going on. The plot explores some interesting metaphysical questions. I never expected way back in 2011 when I started reading Jon Steele’s debut novel that I would eventually find myself pondering our place in the universe. I can’t help but be impressed with fiction like this that promotes such introspection.
On a personal note, I have to say I still find Steele’s depictions of Lausanne damned evocative. I have a profound desire to visit just so I can say I have walked those same streets. Perhaps one day I will, who knows?
My advice, if you haven’t done so already, is seek out The Watchers and Angel City. There is much to enjoy and reading them will add some splendid additional depth to your enjoyment of The Way of Sorrows. Once you have completed those novels you won’t just want to read book three you’ll need to read it. If you’ve already read the first two parts of the trilogy then what the hell are you waiting for? You are in for a treat.
The Way of Sorrows is published by Blue Rider Press and is available now.