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Dantastic Book Reviews

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The Valley of Thunder - Charles de Lint, Philip José Farmer In this, the third volume of Philip Jose Farmer's The Dungeon, the gang splits up early on. Clive Folliot, Horace, and the cyborg Guafe go through one gate, and User Annie, Shriek, Sidi, and Finnbogg go through another. Clive's group encounters the Walking Mountains and their Herdsmen, while Annie's group runs afoul of feral sharkmen, only to be rescued by the ape-like Rohga. Will either group be able to overcome labyrinths, giant oracles, and fanatical cyborgs to finally catch up to Clive's brother Neville?

The shared world science-fantasy tale that is The Dungeon continues. I'd say The Valle of Thunder was the best one yet. When one book features giant brontosauruses, cyborgs, AND ape-men, it's hard to beat. It also happens to be the best written of the series so far, thanks to Charles de Lint. While the prose isn't as flowery as it would become later in his career, there are still flashes of brilliance.

I'd say the only major gripe I have with this book is the continued inconsistencies in User Annie's character. She doesn't refer to herself as User Annie more than a couple times in this one, her personality is different, her way of speaking is different, and suddenly she has a young daughter at home she never mentioned before. Other than that, I have a minor gripe. The budding pseudo-relationship between Clive and Shriek the spider-woman was dropped and never mentioned.

While the ending of the book has a big payoff, there are still tons of unanswered questions. Since I already own the next three, I'll be attacking the next one shortly.

So, while I'd recommend this to fans of PJF and pulp adventure tales, I would most definitely NOT recommend it to anyone who hasn't read the previous two. 3.5 out of 5 easily.