I'm freakin' worn out after this last week of reading this book through listening to the audiobook on my daily work commute. The last quarter of the bI'm freakin' worn out after this last week of reading this book through listening to the audiobook on my daily work commute. The last quarter of the book was a constant series of scenes that ratcheted the tension higher and higher. I was dying to get done with it...and yet, not.
Did I mentioned that I LOVED it?
I rated the first three books in this series with 4 stars, which is my standard rating for a book that I really enjoyed. Somehow, this 4th book managed to surpass those and get to the 5 star level. If I'd been reading on paper, this is the kind of book that I'd have read straight through the night and had to call in sick to work because I couldn't stop. Instead, I forced myself to steadily listen my way through the world, and it was both agonizing and wondrous.
The rest of this review will probably be full of spoilers, so I'm just gonna hide the whole thing.
(view spoiler)[Lord Amberhill's storyline was interesting enough, but it was probably my least favourite of all of them. His pirate servant's transformation was fun at parts, but I think the part that sent shivers through my spine was the fact that he assisted (unknowingly, of course) the king's would-be assassin. There was no real plot-driven reason to have that bit in there, but I thought it was really fitting considering Amberhill's guilt over his involvement in the kidnapping plot in the previous book. He'd be devastated if he knew, and having that little readerly secret from the character is kind of fun. I'm vaguely interested to see what happens to him with the sea witch in the next book, but I'm really hoping it gets pulled back into the main plot more. Seeing how things tied together in this book, I have high hopes that it will.
Back in book 1, I had my doubts about King Zachary and his not-quite romance with Karigan, but I have come to adore him. I knew all along that he'd have to marry Estora, yet still kept that little bit of hope in the back of my mind that he and Karigan could be happy. But honestly? I still love him, even knowing that will never happen. He's a great king who cares about his people but still has real flaws. I love how he got so angry with Laren about sending Karigan to Blackveil, and yet he still acknowledged it was necessary.
But can we take a minute to acknowledge the PAIN of spending 40% of the book waiting to find out if King Zachary was going to survive the assassination attempt or not? FORTY PERCENT.
Oh man, but it was totally worth it. I loved getting to see Estora's displays of strength, watching her find herself, all that. But mostly, I loved the scene when she and Zachary and Beryl trapped that slimy cousin of hers in his own game. I might have cheered. (A lot.)
The only thing missing from it was some more plotting between Estora and Laren. I was really hoping when the scene cut away before hearing Estora's pronouncement about Laren (post her being drugged after protesting the marriage scheme) that the two were doing some scheming together. Really, it was that Estora was trying to protect Laren, and that's fine...but those two crafty gals putting their brains together would have been fun, too. Maybe in book 5.
The bits of plot involving Alton were less robust this time than in book 4, but he was still enjoyable. I'll admit that his romance with Estral did come on a bit fast. I saw it coming a mile away, and it was a very obvious point of antagonism for his relationship with Karigan. Still, it's hard to dislike him or Estral, so I pretty much rolled with it. I'm intrigued by the bit of music related to the wall that never did get resolved, so I'm hopeful book 5 addresses it.
Let's stop for another minute, though. Fucking LALA stole Estral's fucking voice. LALA. Creepy little necromancy-learning LALA. When she and Grandmother created the spell that went seeking the music at the wall, and even when I listened to the scene where the little redbird took away Estral's voice, I never in a million years imagined that Lala was going to get it. WELL PLAYED, MS. BRITAIN.
Finally, I enjoyed Karigan's chunks of the story this time just as much as in previous books. She's grown up so much since our introduction to her in book 1, and her decisions and reactions reflect that. The only time when she shows her youth and immaturity is in her reaction to Alton and Estral's relationship. It was extreme, sure, but I think it was realistic, given her tumultuous emotions after parting from the king and knowing she was going into almost certain death in the evil forest.
I enjoyed her interactions with the Eletians and her near-friendship with a couple of them. I liked her drive and how she always thought of the others. Especially Yates. *sniff* Yates dying broke my heart, and I think it's going to break Karigan's when she finds out. I'm sure she suspects, but still. I'm sure she's holding out hope just like I did. Le sigh. (hide spoiler)] I've already bought the audiobook for book 5 (THE LAST ONE THAT'S PUBLISHED. GAH!), and I will be starting it first thing on my next work day. You should all go read this series right now.["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 book was alright. The concept was good, and the characters were decent, but it lacked that little extra zing that would have made it something moThis book was alright. The concept was good, and the characters were decent, but it lacked that little extra zing that would have made it something more. It covered a span of only a couple of weeks for the characters to get to know one another, and I just didn't know most of them well enough to care. Rose's dreams were the best part, honestly; I think I would have liked to have read a regular Sleeping Beauty story done with this set rather than the modern day transposition of it.
Not an awful way to spend a couple of hours if you're really into fairy tale retellings, but it wasn't my favorite....more