The Wheel of Osheim Review

Book Review: The Wheel Of Osheim by Mark Lawrence

Book Reviews copy

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Synopsis: All the horrors of Hell stand between Snorri Ver Snagason and the rescue of his family, if indeed the dead can be rescued. For Jalan Kendeth, getting back out alive and with Loki’s key is all that matters. Loki’s creation can open any lock, any door, and it may also be the key to Jalan’s fortune back in the living world.

Jalan plans to return to the three w’s that have been the core of his idle and debauched life: wine, women, and wagering. Fate however has other plans, larger plans. The Wheel of Osheim is turning ever faster, and it will crack the world unless it’s stopped. When the end of all things looms, and there’s nowhere to run, even the worst coward must find new answers.


Jalan and Snorri face many dangers, from the corpse hordes of the Dead King to the many mirrors of the Lady Blue, but in the end, fast or slow, the Wheel of Osheim always pulls you back. In the end it’s win or die.

Author: Mark Lawrence

Title: The Wheel of Osheim (The Red Queen’s War #3)

Publisher: HarperVoyager

Date: 2016

Prince of Fools | The Liar’s Key

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When you are reintroduced to your favourite character by him toppling out of Hell (literally), fighting off a demon having been seduced by it beforehand, then quickly cursing over the temperature of the desert he has landed in, you know you are in for a good read.

The Wheel of Osheim is my favourite in the Red Queen’s War series. Jal takes centre stage once again and, for the majority of the book, is the only character of significance. No longer is he spending every page reminding the reader that he is a coward: he is the Marshal of Vermillion and will defend his city against the dead regardless of the danger.

Talk about character development!

Not quite walking-the-deadlands level of torture, but mathematics can come pretty close on a hot day when you’re hung over.

Jal’s progression across the series is one of the best character journeys I’ve read. He doesn’t realise how he has changed, but the opinions of others reflect his progression. He is given a position of authority because people recognise traits in him; what he has always considered to be cowardice, they see as an opportunist.

Snorri bursts onto the scene in a very dramatic way halfway through the book; another character bursting out of hell in time to slay a demon. I felt the book was stronger once Snorri appeared: he brings out the best in Jal and the interaction between the two of them remains humorous even at the end of the trilogy. You can also see the way their friendship has blossomed and the pair of them together just make me grin.

Kara and Hennan make a comeback as well, although they do not play as much of a prominent part in this book. Just enough to see Jal on his way to being the hero that everyone needs.

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This is another 640-page novel. The pacing felt slow for the first half – Jal is heading home and not a lot occurs. While I didn’t consciously notice a lot of description, something filled those initial pages. The second half, however, is fast paced and the tension is strong; the dead are attacking from more than one angle and the race is on to stop the end of the world. The first half felt a struggle, but I was gripped with the second half – couldn’t put it down!

That being said, there was a lot of explanation thrown at Jal and co. (and the reader) when it came to the actually saving the world part. I admit to getting a little lost. It felt like the mechanics of the world were being explained right at the end of the trilogy. I glazed over, and then it instantly got more interesting when the enemy was once again something they could fight.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this trilogy. The final chapter literally left me with a smile on my face and true fondness for the characters. I didn’t want to say goodbye!

If you’re after a fantasy indulgence and don’t mind some swearing, bloodshed, hell and the undead, then I definitely recommend The Red Queen’s War.

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