Title: Ghostland: Infinite
Author: Duncan Ralston
Release date: November 19, 2021
And so we arrive at the third and final book in Duncan Ralston’s highly ambitious Ghostland Trilogy.
What a journey it’s been.
We started out with one of the most mysterious, engaging and well constructed marketing events that I’ve ever seen, which led into the stunning ‘Ghostland’ opener. This introduced us to Duck Falls, Rex Garrote, Ethereals and a cast of characters that felt vibrant and fresh while also like old friends. From there, Ralston pushed the narrative and opened the landscape wider with book two, ‘Afterlife.’ We got to see more of the aftermath of the events in book one, while also learning more about Garrote and having some new characters arrive while saying goodbye to some familiar faces. Book two, even with all of its charm, is what it is – a sequel that sets up the finale. Not to say that is a bad thing or that the book was lacking or dipped, but that the reality was – Ralston needed to set up questions that wouldn’t be answered in there, that the readers would need to be invested enough to tag along for book three.
And now that I’ve read book three?
I think those who’ve loved the first two (as well as the prequel novella ‘The Moving House’) will find themselves rewarded and enriched after reading what Ralston has done here.
What I liked: The third book acts as Ralston has intended. I’ll try to be super vague as well to remain spoiler free, as some folks might’ve been waiting for this book to arrive before diving into the entire series. It picks up after the events of book two and does a great job of introducing us to a few new set pieces and characters before we are re-introduced to Garrote and his evil plans.
I really loved how familiar the world feels and it reminded me of how George R.R. Martin has accomplished that. Martin has crafted a world that is massive in scope with a million moving parts and characters, but each time they feel familiar and solid in their crafting. That is the same here with what Ralston’s done. It is highly impressive and I’m not ashamed to admit I’m in awe at the scale of storytelling Ralston has delivered. This is superb and so thorough that I’d hazard 99% of all of the questions and loose ends get answered and tied up. Saying that, he very deliberately left a few morsels dangling that leave threads available for him to return to this world if he so chooses.
At this point in this review, you’re probably thinking to yourself – ‘jeeze, Steve, you are being super vague.’ Yes. And I apologize about that, but the reality here is Ralston has set things up so well from book one, which still works perfectly as a stand alone novel, might I add, that to say specific details of some key moments would essentially ruin the entire book for you. If you’ve read book two – you’ll have some questions that you want answered. And now, if I said for example ‘X goes here and does this,’ you’ll get angry because that will answer that question. So (insert sticking tongue out gif here) too bad! HA!
I will say, the finale of the trilogy finale is fantastic and I loved seeing how Ralston wrapped everything up. He does a great job of ensuring each of the main/major characters get their moments and for those who depart from this world (even the pesky Ethereals) you’ll be happy to see they’ve played a purpose.
What I didn’t like: I’ve laid out a bunch of why I loved this trilogy and how well this book worked as the finale, but I will say – it did pain me a bit to see just how far away this trilogy moved from the basis of book one. I remember reading book one and my eyes going wide when it read like Jurassic Park with Ghosts. Don’t get me wrong, Ralston has elevated his game here, but I loved the concept of book one soooo much.
Why you should buy this: I think, at the end of the day and at the end of the trilogy, Ralston has shown how masterful of a writer he is. This is a truly serious undertaking and I’d hope we see a gorgeous omnibus hardcover edition come out in the future with maps and family tree’s and character synopsis’ etc. For those who believe Ralston is a one trick pony (and who’ve not read any of his other, wonderful books besides WOOM) this series should bash those thoughts into a million pieces. From book one to book three, Ralston has shown, even over course of a few years, how stunning of a writer he is and how he’s always working hard on his craft to improve and I, personally, am just blown away.
This series is phenomenal from start to finish and in the author’s notes after, he hints at some related projects we’ll see in the future, which should make fans of his and this world very, very happy.
Well done, Duncan. Truly an amazing undertaking.