Book two in the Incarnations of Immortality series is about the Incarnation of Time, someone who can travel to any point in time, can bend time to his will, and who lives backwards while "in office". This should have been an interesting book, full of endless fascination, but it wasn't. In fact, this book bored the crap out of me.
Even as a kid, when I first read these books, this one was my least favorite. Each time I read this story, I read because it is part of the series and I feel like I had to. Some folks say that this was "Second Book Syndrome", and yes, that does factor into this review a bit, but it was more than that. I really dread reading this every time I read the series!
On a Pale Horse used the personification of Death to give us a deep and unique look at the concept of death and dying, helping the readers see it in ways that we, perhaps, hadn’t considered before. Unfortunately, the only things that were really explored in this book were the technical details of how the hourglass (Time’s magical artifact which allowed him to travel) worked, which was boring and oft-repeated, and the fact that Time, aka Chronos, lives backwards, which the author again explained so often and so thoroughly that it left nothing to the imagination, but also ended up making the idea way more confusing than it needed to be. In short, rather than exploring time from a philosophical perspective, the author just extremely thoroughly explained how time worked in his own particular universe.
None of the characters left much of an impression on me whatsoever. Even the office of Time itself is uninteresting! The first book gave us quite a bit of detail on what exactly the Incarnation of Death does, how he does it, and why it’s important. But even after reading this book twice, I have no idea why the Incarnation of Time is even needed or what exactly he does, aside from travel through time and sleep with Fate. In addition, there are a bunch of little subplots, but absolutely no main plot. It seemed like whole chapters in this book contained nothing but distraction and fillers, that offered only minimal connection to the story. In fact, the story in this book offers only minimal connection to the overall story of the series, for me.
For me, there was nothing driving this book, not ideas, not characters, not plot, and it really showed. It’s just a bad book, plain and simple, though I know the other books in the series are better.