Caine’s Law

Caine’s Law is the fourth book in Matthew Stover’s Caine series. More precisely it is book two in the Act of Atonement (book one being Caine Black Knife) and the third of the Acts of Caine. It’s not easy to explain the book. Like Caine Black Knife, Stover did something a little different. The story differs not just with the shifting narrative, but the shifting story. The events in the book are in flux. Literally.

When I opened the book, I stopped and had a good laugh at the author’s note. I had to read it twice. Then three times. It still didn’t make complete sense, but I had a feeling this book was going to be fun.

“Several parts of this story take place before the events depicted in Act of Atonement Book I, Caine Black Knife. Other parts of this story take place after. Still other parts take place before and after both. Some parts may be imaginary, and some were real only temporarily, as they have subsequently unhappened.” -Author’s Note, Caine’s Law

You see, in this book Caine is playing a game that transcends time. He’s still living with the consequences of his life, but his new found powers have enabled him to make a difference. For the first time he has the ability to unhappen events. Caine asks himself “What if you you could take back the worst thing you ever did?” But there’s a catch; changing the past is a very messy affair. As is stated throughout the book: it’s complicated. In fact Stover said it best himself: “Caine’s Law: Everything is more complicated than you think it is.”

“Does this ever get less f****d up?” -Jonathan Fist, Caine’s Law.

So what else does the reader get? There’s Caine adventuring with his friends through different periods of time. There’s action on both worlds: Home and Overworld. People get their ass kicked; sometimes a goodguy, sometimes someone who you really enjoy seeing laid low. Caine doesn’t just make war on the world, he challenges the gods and existence. In Caine’s Law, that becomes the central story.

“See, the whole point of being a god is that there’s no such thing as consequences, right? You don’t like how something turned out, you reach into reality and stir it around until you get something you like better.” -Possibly someone, potentially somewhere, Caine’s Law.

Readers of the series will get to see a lot of familiar characters. Personally, one of my favorites is Orbek Black Knife. As an Ogrilloi (think orc), he has a different point of view and it’s adds a very nice element to the dialog. When Orbek and Caine are out traveling together, it’s always fun times. The Arkhanan Emperor Deliann Mithondion aka Kris Hansen also shows up, though with a lot less page time than Orbek. Caine’s father Duncan plays a significant role which underlies the fact that the novel was originally called His Father’s Fist. Another character with a lot of page time is Angvasse Khlaylock aka Khryl’s Fist and the Lord of Battle. She showed up in Caine Black Knife and plays a very important part here. There is one other character worth mentioning; the horse-witch.

The horse-witch starts out as an interesting character and turns into someone with deep purpose. Without spoiling too much, she becomes vital to Caine’s development. While Caine is trying to figure out how to change the universe, the horse-witch is helping him deal with the consequences. She gives him purpose. She is also a bit strange in her actions and it’s reminiscent of how Yoda was in The Empire Strikes Back. They’re both wise and eccentric.

“Occasions like this transcend dignity. F**k being cool. This is awesome!” -Caine, Caine’s Law.

Caine’s Law ends with a note of finality, a feeling of epicness, a quality of grandeur. Through character moments of mirth and despair, to scenes of awe struck power and emotion, this book is intellectually and emotionally powerful. This novel is beyond entertainment, but it’s also entertaining. I loved it. What more is there to say? If you’re looking for a serious series to dig into, this one is deserving of your attention. Follow it through, and Caine’s Law will not disappoint.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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