K-PAX III: The Worlds of Prot by Gene Brewer completes the trilogy of prot–an alter identity of Robert Porter–who has relapsed after his remarkable recovery in On a Beam of Light. Unfortunately, K-PAX III seems to have been written only to fill out the trilogy. In fact, there’s very little story to be found.
As readers of the first two novels, we already know the fairly complex story of how prot came to be, and about Robert Porter’s tragic life. What’s not known completely, is whether prot is truly another life form, inhabiting Robert’s body, or–as Dr. Gene Brewer believes–another personality within Robert’s fragmented mind. In K-PAX III, the answer is revealed vaguely, but brings the series to a fairly satisfactory close. Readers will learn the truth about Robert, and the mystery of his traumatic upbringing, through the sometimes redundant work of Dr. Brewer.
Overall, however, the book falls flat where it could have been marvelously entertaining. Instead of being charming and likable, prot is rather annoying and obnoxious. Dr. Brewer seems to realize this, too, since he becomes quite angry and agitated several times through the text.
Another problem in this volume is it tries too hard to carry a message. Gene Brewer seems to be trying to tell his readers that the world could be a better place if we all tried to make it one. While the message is a good one, and worthwhile exploring, the method used in K-PAX III becomes tiresome and preachy.
Despite the bad, the plot picks up well, and climaxes satisfactorily, though the departure of prot–a huge event in the previous books–is a bit lackluster here. An epilogue fills us in on the events after prot’s final departure, and how it affects everyone he’s had contact with.
K-PAX III didn’t live up to expectations set by the previous to books in the series. It seemed to have been written just to make a trilogy, not because it was entirely necessary to the story. The approach Brewer uses to narrate the story is rather confusing, considering he is not, in actuality, a psychiatrist. Readers will probably begin to wonder where the reality ends, and the story begins. Overall, it’s a disappointing outing from a promising author.
– Reviewed by Bradley K. Brown