Some days, you just need a bit of existential ridiculousness to perfectly justify sitting on your couch reading a book. While the whole Cider and Ale series is good for this, The Whiskey Eternal by Michael Evan and JMD Reid is definitely worth the read.
1. Thoughts on the plot
This book follows Sandy Sam, the sidewinder who died then came back during the Cider Chronicles. He’s a little bitter about this whole side-character schtick, so has decided to write a book in which he is the hero on a quest to discover the Whiskey Eternal and thereby gain immortality. Only, it’s not so easy being a writer. There are things like plot holes to fill, the curse of writing without editing, and the pesky passage of time to deal with.
This plot is almost entirely unlike the plots of the first books in this series, by which I mean that it follows the same structure, has the same search for something (in this case an immortal elixer in the form of whiskey), and characters who are just a little too aware of the world for the average writer’s comfort. The pacing in this book is very well done, with all the major events happening just when you start to worry for the characters. Of course, any time you bring up writing a book in the process of actually writing a book, then I’m pretty pleased.
2. Thoughts on the characters
I like Sandy Sam. Partly because he expounds on the weirdness of the English language (to answer all his questions, by the way, English is the way it is because it thieves and steals from other languages, lumping things together that have no business being together just because it sounds good). But also because it’s hard being a secondary character and discovering that you were just some plot point. This book is his chance to rectify those wrongs and he seizes it with, ah, open arms. Or fangs, since he’s a snake. His character development is perhaps a little tied up with the existential crisis near the end of the book, but there is enough depth throughout the novel to be entertaining.
I do feel a little badly for Scotty in this one, though. He’s just along for the ride and doing his best not to go crazy.
3. Favourite part
That’s all I have to say, because otherwise I would spoil things, and that would be sad.
Frankly, I don’t really have a critique for this book. It takes all the ridiculousness of the first several books, throws it together, shakes it about and adds some questions about writers and language. Ridiculous and entertaining, just as I would expect.
Overall, this book is a fun, fast paced adventure about a side character getting his chance to shine. It’s fun, strange, and has enough philosophy to add just a touch of seriousness to the situation. But mostly, it’s a great conclusion to the series.