I think the greatest compliment you can give an author is that you had a deep, emotional response(s) to his/her book. I think I experienced every emotion possible in this one book. I was happy, sad, laugh out loud, grieved, and felt overwhelming joy. Something as simple as “I was waiting for you” made me cry. I guess a lot of that had to do with the context. But still.
This book takes place literally right after the events of Ruin. Due to this being the 4th and final book of the series, there’s not much I can say about the plot without spoiling it. But this is basically the culmination of all the planning and scheming coming together in one huge, epic battle. No wait, epic doesn’t even do this battle justice.
The first half of the book was neither fast nor slow in regards to pacing. But it picks up substantially a little after the half way mark. I was surprised at how he was able to tie up so many plot points in a relatively short amount of time, without making any of it seemed rushed. There were a few character deaths during the big battle that felt like they came out of nowhere, but that made it feel so much more realistic.
The characters were as amazing as ever. I sometimes forget how far they’ve all come since Malice. I mean, Corban, Dath, Farrell, Cywen, and Rafe were pretty much kids when we first met them. Now they’re battle hardened and experienced warriors. It just blows my mind to think of the frightened kid – Corban – that shyly asked his stable master to help him learn to defend himself and realizing what he’s become. Hashtag nostalgia. Besides Corban, every single character has had some truly amazing development, especially when you think of who they were when we first met them. Even Craf, a freaking bird, has developed into a great character (one of my favorites, at that).
This is among the most well-written series I’ve come across. Gwynne’s writing is as close to perfect, in regards to fitting my personal taste, as I think I’m going to find. There’s no way I could do this series justice with a measly review. This series will make you die laughing and then have you ugly crying 2 chapters later. It is the perfect balance of light and dark, not and grief. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys this genre.