The Morning Star

The Morning StarSummary: The mystery that began with a single enigmatic postcard reaches its dramatic conclusion in The Morning Star. Three million readers the world over await this last chapter of the best-selling Griffin & Sabine series, a volume of gorgeous artwork and passionate correspondence that crosses oceans and transcends realms. In these sumptuous pages lies not only the fate of Matthew Sedon and Isabella de Reims, but that of their unexpected kinship with Griffin and Sabine, as the long-distance lovers are drawn ever further from the safe haven of logic into a magical maze beyond the certainty of experience. Author and artist Nick Bantock draws on myth, memory, and his limitless imagination in a saga that has resonated with readers and lovers everywhere. The Morning Star marks the final destination on a journey across fabled landscapes and the uncertain terrain of the human heart-one to be savored and remembered long after the last page is turned.

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The Morning Star, by Nick Bantock 8.0

“Isabella, the stronger you grow the more I seem to want you. You say you believe I’ll respond to your love and I will. But now I understand the self-doubts Griffin must have endured when he knew he was to meet with Sabine. He was troubled by the idea that he wouldn’t be a match for her soul. You and I are so like them.” –Matthew

In this concluding tome of ‘The Morning Star’ trilogy, the second ‘Griffin and Sabine‘ series of books, Bantock has done it: he has tied together all of the elements that were slightly loose in the first books. And he has managed to sustain the readers’ interest all the while keeping the story’s believability relatively high.

Or as high as an esoteric, metaphysical love story can get, I suppose.

In this volume, Isabella is finally given the go-ahead by Sabine to travel to meet with Matthew, as events begin to unfold. Of course, Bantock has Isabella take her sweet time to get to destination, much like Griffin did in ‘Sabine’s Notebook‘, although here it is partially justified by the notion that she would be less visible to Frolatti’s dark angels .

I can sort of buy that, especially since they are becoming a more significant presence and menace in our story. While Matthew is trying to continue with his work, they are vandalizing the excavation areas and also finding ways to create roadblocks along the way. There is a growing sense that the danger is closing in on Isabella and Matthew.

But they are continually guided by Sabine (and also Griffin, although his role is reduced over time), and this is how they manage to circumvent some of the danger and even lead Frolatti and his  co-conspirators astray, leading to an abstract, yet satisfying, conclusion. Any questions left over from the series don’t truly require any answers.

My main problem with the book, in this case, is that it seemed to me odd that Griffin, Sabine, Matthew and Isabella could communicate between themselves by mail and yet still keep their connection secret from Frolatti. Given how much power and how intrusive he/it could be, why didn’t he just read their mail and be ahead of the game?

There is a hint that the mail had been read by him, what with one letter having been opened in transit. However, there is no mention of this having had any repercussions at all – for all we know, it was opened by the authorities in transit. It would have been so easy for Frolatti to know what Sabine was planning, and yet he didn’t. Hmmm…

But that’s my only real gripe. I just wish that I had a better knowledge of symbolism and/or Egyptian iconography and religion because the artwork on the postcards and letters (especially Sabine and Griffin’s) is likely to be composed of all sorts of clues which added depth to the reader’s understanding of the mystical aspects of the tale.

Alas, I have absolutely no clue, and could only enjoy them for their esthetic appeal. And, as anyone who’s read any of these books can attest, Bantock is no slouch: each postcard and envelope is covered with detail, down to the stamps and postal marking – which I also wish I knew more of, enough to know if they are legitimate or designed by Bantock for the books.

All this to say that this is a fine series of books and that ‘The Morning Star’ is a terrific conclusion (Or is it? A conclusion, I mean…?). With this final trilogy, Bantock has created a more substantive plot and development than for his first. Although some people disagree, I am a bigger fan of the second set because I can’t decry it for what it’s not.

I would highly recommend this unique series to anyone who loves art, metaphysics, romance and mystery. Both ‘The Griffin and Sabine Trilogy’ and ‘The Morning Star’ Trilogy’ roll all of those elements into one complete oeuvre. Plus which it’s a reading experience like few others, what with all the postcards and letters.

This was über cool. I’m so glad to have read ‘Griffin and Sabine’. It opened up a world I otherwise would never have known.

What do you think?

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