Trolls, Science and Parallel Worlds. ‘The Long War’ by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter is a science-fiction book with elements of fantasy that drags the reader into a world still reeling from a single event that changed everything. As I read the book without any prior knowledge, it was not until half-way through that I discovered it was a sequel. There were hints and certain things that would have made more sense if I had read the first book, however, it is telling that I did not realise until I was explicitly told. ‘The Long War’ works well on its own.
The book follows multiple characters as political tensions between the worlds start to rise. The main character, Joshua, is forced out of a quiet, happy life, when a video of a troll being mistreated goes viral. Trolls start disappearing, and the peaceful world that he resides in is turned upside down. Unfortunately, for the book, only a couple of the other plotlines actually coincide with this one, which is arguably the primary plot. The characters do interact slightly, if just for a page, but in reality a couple do just feel like a set-up for the next book – their stories introducing you to the characters but nothing more.
The culmination of the book was disappointing. It did come as a slight surprise, but ended up leaving me feeling like it was missing something a little ‘extra’. A couple of scenes also lacked the emotional punch they should have commanded. If the authors had spent more time on some of the more important characters and less on those that were not so relevant to the plot, this would have probably not been the case. But unfortunately, it was.
Despite this, ‘The Long War’ was a good read, even if I had not read the first one in the series. It combines elements of science-fiction and fantasy to create a world that is believable despite being a little confusing at times. I will be reading ‘The Long Earth’ and ‘The Long Mars’ to see how they compare.