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Dispel Illusion

by Mark Lawrence

Series: Impossible Times (3)

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926240,074 (4.18)15

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
"The stories of our lives don’t behave themselves; they don’t have clear beginnings, and even death isn’t a clear end. We just do what we can, we take what kindness and joy we find along the way, we ride the rapids as best we’re able."
This is a very satisfying end to a wonderful if sometimes bewildering series (I've admitted before my confusion over some of the science involved but that's me and shouldn't impact the enjoyment of the books). There are time jumps between 1986 and 2011 and in-between as Nick and Mia try to solve the future impact of Mia's accident. Meanwhile, the D&D game continues into the groups' adult lives.
As is usual, it is the D&D game that provides the solution to the dilemmas Nick faces in developing time travel. Very rich people are now coming to Nick to travel back in time to fix issues in their lives. I liked that the reasons given had more to do with small but impactful choices they made rather than for power or more wealth. And genius though he may be, Nick learns that he doesn't know everything.
A personal highlight was when Taproot makes an unexpected but gratifying appearance. I suddenly realized that much like Cid in the Final Fantasy games, Mr. Lawrence inserts Taproot into his series (at least the ones I've read so far). It's a delightful little Easter egg for the readers of his books.
I very much enjoyed this time travel series interspersed with old D&D and recommend it highly. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Jun 22, 2021 |
Wow! What a story.

Just when I thought I knew where this was headed, Mark dazzles me with something completely unexpected, though he sprinkles in all the clues that make things clear-as-day in retrospect. A couple things I caught and held onto through the three books, fitting them together like small pieces of some fantastic puzzle, but I was so distracted by those flashy glimpses of progress that I failed to see what he was really up to. I’ve been properly bamboozled! But only in the best of ways.

I... I just—I loved all of it.

A truly satisfying ending. I can’t remember being so overcome with hope and all-out joy after reading a series, but I feel both in equal measure at this very moment. I love how I feel after reading it.

Impossible Times was one of those rare stories that fills you up with everything—fear and resignation, angst, sadness, intellect, love... so much love. And finally, that magic called possibility all of us are born with and spend our lives trying to hold close.

The story of Nick and friends is a nested formula, the components being the D&D timeline, the present time, various timelines in the past, paradox and any combination of unknowns—all of these factors easily continuing into perpetuity. I had to wonder several times how it would possibly end. Worried, even. But silly me. This is Mark Lawrence we’re talking about. I’ll happily trust him from here on out.

This was a special story. Nick, Mia, Elton, John, Simon... I adore each of these rascals! What a way to start off the new year.

“The stories of our lives don’t behave themselves; they don’t have clear beginnings, and even death isn’t a clear end. We just do what we can, we take what kindness and joy we find along the way, we ride the rapids as best we’re able.” ( )
  sandra_gibbons | Jan 21, 2021 |
I didn't completely finish it. Lost interest after too many epoch/location changes. ( )
  ColleenMorton | Jan 3, 2021 |
Dispel Illusion is the final story in Mark Laurence's Impossible Times trilogy. In the first novel, One Word Kill, teenage Nick meets his future self, Demos. Demos helps Nick save his crush, Mia, who will become Demos' wife, but they pay a high price for her life.

As Nick gets closer to Demos' age, he wonders if there's a way to get out of an established path that he knows will have a tragic end, without abandoning Mia or shredding the timeline into the disasters in Limited Wish. The story plays with ways Nick wants to separate himself from Demos, and without revealing too much, it works well with the established timetravel rules and with Nick/Demos character.

I enjoyed the way Nick planned to escape Mia's accident, there was almost a Greek myth aspect to how his plans to protect her kept putting them back on the same path. Nick's plan to send her right through 2011 and pop her straight into 2012, thus avoiding the year Demos told him she'd have the accident, was particularly good.

I just loved when John, Simon, Mia and Nick finally got a chance to play D&D again, partly because the author connects the tabletop themes with the overall themes, but also because it felt so realistic to have the old friends trying to make time to meet up for a game as working adults. I meet with friends for gaming sessions, and like these four, we try to make it every month, but if we see each other for drinks and a game 5 or 6 times a year, it's a success. It was a lot easier in college, but having old friends to save the world with is pretty great, even if we don't get to do it too often.

Dispel Illusion also muses on aging, because Nick is becoming the older version of himself he remembers from his teenage days. His relationship with Mia is also changing and maturing. The high drama of first love found in the first novel, all angst and dramatic declarations, has mellowed into teamwork and partnership, and this is particularly clear in the last scenes. ( )
  TheFictionAddiction | Aug 12, 2020 |
What a fantastic end to this time-travel SF trilogy!

Each volume gives us a firm grounding in these friends' cool D&D sessions and twists the events into very clever plots full of deception, imperfect memory, and time-paradox filled with the possibility of entire lost universes. Of course, it's not a good D&D session without REALLY high stakes, right?

But as this particular title implies, there may... or may not... be a lot of deception going on within the pages. Of course, revealing the spell, the purpose of this spell, or the number of people involved in this spell is forbidden, and not least because of the master illusionist at the top of the Tower of Trickery...


I love the way this novel brings together all the pages of all three novels and gives us all a much more complete and delicious wrap-up and explanation for all the events.

It's definitely one of the best time-travel paradox-defying novels I've read. And it is DEFINITELY one of the most fun.

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
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The two saving graces of explosions are that from the outside they're pretty and from the inside they're quick.
This is the real world. Nobody arrives in the nick of time to save you. The authorities arrive after the event, tag the bodies, photograph the blood spatters. It's always been that way. Always will be.
We imagine ourselves creatures of deep emotion and grand gestures. I had thought that my sorrow would be some vast thing that I would wrestle with, that I would be locked in battle with as I sat by Mia's need, unblinking. But the truth was that boredom soon took over, relegating my grief to a hollow she that wouldn't let me go, but wouldn't occupy my mind either.
The universe doesn't care about time. We care about time. Because we remember.
People often speculate as to what they might do with the last month, week, or day remaining to them, given that they are in good health and know what's coming. The truth is that even though I'd had plenty of time to think about it, I didn't really know what I wanted to do. In an awfully way, I just wanted it to hurry up and happen. There's a certain pain associated with doing even things you love and knowing that it is for the last time.
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