I am going to give this a 2.5/5
. This book really pissed me off. Just look at how long it took me to read it! 9 days! I usually read a book in 2, and this is a fairly short one. I marathoned several TV shows during that time because I had no motivation to finish the book. If it werent the last in a series I enjoyed, I wouldnt have bothered.
There are so many things about this book that I didnt like, I have no idea where to begin. It was all very contrived. At every single turn Yelena and her companions meet another obstacle. There are such constant, constant
, ambushes and betrayals that nothing remained a surprise. They never got a single break or chance to breath. It was so very tiresome and frustrating I wanted to throw the book. Several characters seemed to change personalities at will to suit the story. Cahil's drastic change in Magic Study
had me a bit confused, but he was the only one. In this book, add Moon Man and Lief, and at times even Yelena and Valek. As if Moon Man wasnt infuriating enough already.
You know those old, wise, mentor types who speak in riddles and no matter how much they are pressed they refuse to say anything that will actually help? And when their charge makes a mistake because they lacked information or guidance, they got upset as if the charge should have known better? Yeah, he was one of those. I wanted to strangle him! So did Yelena at times but I really didnt see the purpose of his character. And I didnt understand a word of what he said to her at the end in the fire. That was the moment when Yelena apparently had a revelation and understood what Moon Man was trying to teach her all along, but I missed it.
And then there was the self-righteous villain (whose identity was kept secret till the end so I will continue to refer to them as "the villain" although it was rather obvious). They just made me want to scream! More than Moon Man or the constant "surprises". They believed that Yelena and the Commander of Ixia were such a threat to Sitia that they took extremely drastic and sickly murderous measures in an attempt to "protect" Ixia. How can anyone be that misguided?! I know that humanity can be extremely corrupt, and whether it is a fantasy world or not, humanity has committed great atrocities. But I have a hard time believing that so many would have supported the villain. They nearly tore two countries apart with their madness and only Yelena and a handful of companions were willing to do something about it.
And then that brings me to a minor point about Ixia and Sitia. All the Sitians seemed to believe that the Commander of Ixia is an evil Dictator. I guess technically he is a dictator, but he is fair and uncorrupted by power. A few things about Ixian law I would say are a bit strict, but overall I would rather live in Ixia than Sitia, a country that can easily be overrun by murderous, power hungry, magicians. It really bothered me that no matter how many times Yelena told Cahil or Lief that the citizens of Ixia are safe and happy, they would not believe her and accused her of being brainwashed by her time there. It left me very worried for the fate of Ixia. Even in the end of the book Cahil is still determined to free Ixia from its "tyrant", giving us no resolution to that part of the conflict. Cahil was not the villain, he was only misguided by the villain for a time, because of his desire to help Ixia. But the villain would not have gotten as far without Cahil's help. So I really think that there should have been some resolution of Cahil's feelings about the Commander of Ixia, otherwise it is just left open to happen again.
Also, far too much time was spent recapping the previous books. Instead of just briefly explaining the relevant points for those who hadnt read the first two books, we were taken into an in-depth description of events that sometimes lasted for paragraphs. And on a few occasions, a point was explained twice, as if Maria V. Snyder
forgot she had already explained it earlier. And lastly, Valek's character was greatly underused. He did some fighting that helped, but whenever it came to planning and strategy everyone turned to Yelena, which I didnt really understand. She is known for not thinking things through. Valek was just there
. And after a particularly hard day he is there for Yelena to have sex with. He was like a prop, when he was probably the best thing about Poison Study
. I was planning on reading Storm Glass
next, but now I am not going to make it a priority.