What an amazing end to this series. I have a lot of favorites, and my preferences change from time to time, but this is among the absolute best fantasWhat an amazing end to this series. I have a lot of favorites, and my preferences change from time to time, but this is among the absolute best fantasy series that I have ever read. This goes right onto the favorites/re-read bookshelf.
Notes for the first book:
(view spoiler)[Arista and Degan are set to be executed on Wintertide, the same day that Modina, the empress, will be married to Ethelred. Saldur and Guy plan on killing Modina once Ethelred is emperor, just to remove the loose end. Hadrian makes a deal with Saldur to free Arista and Degan at the expense of Sir Breckton, but both realize that they've been setup. Everyone is imprisoned and Royce goes to break them out but fails. Alric and Mauvin end up breaking everyone out because Modina sends her guard to Drondil Fields to stop the siege against Melengar and asks them to rescue everyone who has been falsely imprisoned and accuses Saldur and Luis Guy of treason. In the end, Gwen is killed by a crossbow bolt ostensibly fired by one of Marrick's cronies, though he denies it. Royce in a complete fit of rage burns down the building that Saldur, Marrick, and Modina are in. Married manages to escape but is killed by a vengeful Royce and they both spill over into the nearby river. Meanwhile, Arista goes into the burning building using Esrahaddon's cloak and rescues Modina. Hadrian, not seeing Royce, notices hands by the bridge crossing the river and sees Royce. Hadrian implores Royce to not let go, but is only able to motivate him to reach for Hadrian's hand after saying "I need your help." (hide spoiler)]
Notes for the second book:
(view spoiler)[This is the finale, when we get to see everything that we've been waiting for come to the ultimate climax. At the beginning of the sixth book, we learn that the elves are coming and they are the ultimate army, unbeatable in almost every way, the only way to beat them is by finding the horn, but what does the horn do?
A party of 10 people (Royce, Hadrian, Alric, Arista, Mauvin, Myron, Degan, Wyatt, Elden, Magnus) sets out to find Percepliquis and find the horn, which is most likely buried with the last emperor. The party is carefully put together based upon the needs of the expedition: the heir (Degan), a spelunker (Magnus), someone who knows the history (Myron), and some sailors (Wyatt and Elden). We're not sure why the party needs some of these skills, but along they go.
They quickly make their way to Amberton Lee, where the original city of Percipliquis is thought to be and find a way in, though there will be a lot of climbing to get there. They make their way to the bottom and among other problems encounter an underground sea with the city of Percepliquis on the other side. They find a ship and Wyatt and Elden prove themselves useful by sailing the boat across the sea. They encounter some of the Ba Ran Ghazel in one ship at first and are able to shake them, but encounter more and Arista must use the Art to destroy them, but in the process she almost destroys their own ship.
Once on the other side, they explore the old city, finding indications that others have been here before them (including Bernie being on the ship they sailed), they make their way to the library (finding Antun Bulard), and then to the Teshlor Guild. There they make their stand against hundreds of Ghazel, again saved by Arista's magic destroying the guild and scattering the Ghazel. They run to the destroyed palace and find their way in, all the while being chased by the Ghazel.
They eventually end up in the antechamber to the Vault of Days, where a Gilarabrywn is guarding the tomb of the emperors. We learn that this Gilarabrywn is actually the last emperor known—Nareion. Royce figures out that he can communicate with him (but why?) so the manage to get in and find the horn among an all-too-small number of sarcophagi. Gaunt blows the horn and nothing happens.
Meanwhile, the elves are still marching to Aquesta and are destroying towns along the way. We're unsure of how, but the boys who are left to watch the horses at Amberton Lee eventually figure it out. They play a song along the way and it puts anyone who hears it to sleep. That allows them to go in untouched and destroy everything in their path. Knowing this, Renwick leaves the other four boys with the horses and rides for Aquesta to let them know what they're up against. Breckton makes Renwick his aide-de-camp and starts to plan out the defense of the city.
When the elves arrive at Aquesta, they come out a company at a time. At first it's 100 elves on horseback, nothing too bad, then it's another 200 on foot, 100 archers, more riders, siege engines, mages, and more. The mages start to cast a spell and the foundation of the city begins to shake with walls and buildings being torn asunder. In the panic, the elves walk into the city killing all in their way with little resistance. With no hope being left to them, the Gilarabrywn are set upon the city and with little else to do, Modina goes out to defend her people and city by exclaiming:
> “I am the daughter of the last emperor,” she said with a loud clear voice. “I am the daughter of Novron, the Daughter of Maribor. I am Empress Modina Novronian! This is my city, my land, and you are my people. The elves will not have you!”
After that, the elves treat with her and ask where the horn is and why it hasn't been blown to reestablish the treaties, agreements, and so forth. She explains they're still finding the horn, and hearing that the elves go off to meet the party sent to find the horn.
The party makes their way out of Percepliquis and finds the Patriarch of the church waiting for them. (While underground, they they determined the Patriarch is actually Venlin, the architect of the destruction of Perciplquis and the empire. He's wants to be king because it means he'll be welcome in their society again after being exiled after killing his own father.) They hand the horn to the patriarch and he sounds the horn, challenging the heir (Gaunt) for the rule of the elves.
The fight begins the next day with both Mawyndulë and Gaunt naming champions in Lord Irawondona and Hadrian, respectively. Hadrian fights very well, but can't hurt Irawondano and that means that Hadrian, while being claimed as Gaunt's Champion, is not the _heir's_ champion. That's when we learn that Royce is the heir, not Gaunt. Irawondona, spurred on by Mawyndulë, goes after Royce and tries to kill him before he can name Hadrian as his champion, but is able to do it in time. At this point Irawondona and Hadrian are facing off again, but with the spadones (swords of the Teshlor knights) instead of the elven polearms. They fight for a bit, but Hadrian starts to walk away, back facing Irawondona hearing his father in his head telling him to sense his opponent and trust his instincts, and he slashes at where he knows Irawondona will be, cutting the man in two, making Royce king of the elves.
The elves bow down to Royce quickly, with no hesitation. Everything now clicks neatly into place. Royce and Hardian were put together by Arcadius because he knew they were the heir and guardian even then. Royce almost dies, but Arista's healing brings him back only because they figure out that Mercy is actually Mercedes, his daughter by way of Gwen DeLancey (his love and his reason for living). We also see Hadrian and Arista admit their love for one another, we see dwarves and mir made citizens by imperial edict, Allie (Wyatt's daughter) is adopted by the empress, Mauvin becomes governor of Melengar, Degan becomes earl of Chadwick (sorry Archie), and Magnus becomes the head builder of New Percepliquis (and is possibly a/the dwarven prince).
That leaves us with Arista, Hadrian, Myron, Royce, Modina, and Nimbus. Modina asks Arista to head up the Cenzaur guild, Hadrian to do the same for the Teshlor guild, and Myron to start a new university. They'll all be needed for the new empire. Royce will be leaving for the elven homeland so he can settle things there and he'll be taking Mercy (his daughter) with him. Modina will continue to rule, but without Nimbus as he's done his part and needs to be on his way.
A bit before this, Royce recognizes Nimbus—having not seen him in his Chancellor role before today—as the man from Manzant who helped him escape the prison. He keeps asking Nimbus who he is, and why he helped, and tells him that he wanted to thank him. Nimbus just smiles and says "You already know that." When Royce, Mercy, and Nimbus strike off, they eventually split. Royce and Mercy hear lightning in the sky and look over to see blue skies and a white feather falling down as Nimbus reaches up, grabs it, kisses it, and stashes in his bag. (We learn that Nimbus is Kile, the human form of Erebus, the father of all gods, because we've been told about this parable many times over during the course of the book. This means that Erebus was doing this good deed, helping Modina and Royce and all of humanity and without his help, where would they be?) (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This is the book on creativity that I've been waiting for. It covers so many topics so quickly, and yet each topic feels complete and not rushed. ThisThis is the book on creativity that I've been waiting for. It covers so many topics so quickly, and yet each topic feels complete and not rushed. This is a book that will sit on my shelf and be read multiple times. Highly recommended....more