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Jan 23

The Third Section – Jasper Kent

About the book
The third novel in Jasper Kent’s enthralling, chilling and acclaimed historical vampire sequence — The Danilov Quintet.
Russia 1855. After forty years of peace in Europe, war rages. In the Crimea, the city of Sevastopol is besieged. In the north, Saint Petersburg is blockaded. But in Moscow there is one who needs only to sit and wait — wait for the death of an aging tsar, and for the curse upon his blood to be passed to a new generation.

As their country grows weaker, a brother and sister — each unaware of the other’s existence — must come to terms with the legacy left them by their father. In Moscow, Tamara Valentinovna Lavrova uncovers a brutal murder and discovers that it is not the first in a sequence of similar crimes, merely the latest, carried out by a killer who has stalked the city since 1812.

And in Sevastopol, Dmitry Alekseevich Danilov faces not only the guns of the combined armies of Britain and France, but must also make a stand against creatures that his father had thought buried beneath the earth, thirty years before.

480 pages (paperback)
Published on: September 27th, 2011
Published by: Pyr
Author’s webpage

This book was sent for me by the lovely people at Pyr.

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JasperKent’s Twelve was one of the mostsurprising books I have read recently. It was one of those books that I didn’texpect to like but ended up loving despite myself. Twelve had everything I wanted in a book – a tight plot, compellingcharacters and a unique take on a fascinating period of history. Thirteen Years Later was just as good,which proved that Jasper Kent is not a one-hit-wonder author. This leads me to The Third Section, a book I hadincredibly high hopes for and because of this, I was extremely excited to readthis installment of the Danilov Quintet.
The Third Section is one of those rarebooks that I enjoyed almost as much as I felt disappointed with it. One of themost compelling aspects of the previous two books in the series was the perspectiveof the main protagonist, Aleksei. Even in the second book, when the perspectiveswitches from first to third, Aleksei is still in the driver’s seat. The previous two books give the reader plenty of time to become attached to him. He almost becomes as much of areason to read the books as the plot is. However, in The Third Section Aleksei is pushed to a very minor, almostnonexistent wallflower type role. Instead, his two children Dmitry and Tamara arethe main protagonists, and neither ever seems quite as interesting or compellingas their father, Aleksei. In fact, Dmitry comes off as boring and his sections took me an amazingly long time to get absorbed in. This really is a huge drawback for the book. Whilethe plot is still interesting, and many of the things that Kent struggled within previous books has been ironed out, and his writing is fluid, descriptive and absorbing, TheThird Section lacks the compelling voice of Aleksei, and the whole workpays dearly for it.
Theplot of The Third Section isnoticeably slower in pace than the previous two books. This, combinedwith the third person perspective from two new main protagonists, could easilyput a wedge between the reader and the events that take place in this book.While much of what happens is still interesting, and has potential for reallywowing certain readers, others will feel a bit put off. There isn’t muchemotional intimacy between the reader and characters or events in The Third Section, and the pacing isslow enough to cause whatever intimacy there may be to fade in place of thedesire to get things moving a bit faster.
Perhapspart of the reason this is felt so keenly is because the reader knows a bit toomuch to be shocked by many of the events. Due to previous books, the readeralready knows who Tamara’s parents are and who Yudin really is. A huge “surprise”that could have been felt with those two revelations is lost almost automatically.Due to the use of Yudin’s perspective, many of his plans aren’t shockingbecause the reader ventures with him while he schemes. There are plenty moreexamples of where knowing too much effects the plot, but to avoid spoilers I’llkeep them to myself. Journeying along with the characters like this, whileinteresting, exposes a bit too much. The plot already moves a bit slower thanadvisable; the lack of surprises is keenly felt. While it can be argued thatthe journey, not the destination is what the reader should enjoy, a little moresurprise could have really gone a long way toward a compelling plot or addingsome much needed tension and suspense to the pages.
Yudin,however, is more interesting and realistic than he has been in previous books. The sectionstold from his perspective really build him up to be a very compelling villain and a character that readers can almost sympathize with, despite his negativequalities. In fact, Yudin was perhaps one of my favorite characters in The Third Section and I felt a closeness to him that had been lacking in previous books. His voice ismemorable, and his perspective really makes him realistic, whereas in previousbooks he was a bit too mysterious to fully understand. Yudin becomes a nicecounterpoint to some of the more droll characters. 
Despiteits problems, The Third Section was areally enjoyable read. Perhaps the reason the issues I listed were felt sokeenly was because Kent’s books are so high quality and absorbing that thesmallest details are more noticeable. The period of history this book takesplace in is nothing short of fascinating. While the characters lack and thepacing is a bit slow, The Third Sectionis a strong installment in a series that has continually blown me away. Yes, itdoes have issues, but I still loved it. Kent continues to impress me. I’manxiously waiting to see what comes next in the Danilov Quintet.
4/5stars

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