After the loss of the (admittedly: occasionally interminable) dark psychological tone of the last book, this one falls into a very recognizable 'plot coupon' pattern, which should be familiar to anyone who played D&D or watched Dragonball (we were all 11 once, right?). Of course, constructing the finale around such a simple and direct concept for the ending of the conflict is easy for the author. However, it is formulaic and predictable for the reader, and robs us of actually seeing a physical and intellectual struggle between foes. Of course, this does not mean that they do not strive against one another, but by providing the separation of such a plot device, relocates the entire point-of-conflict to an arbitrary, external point. Thermal exhaust port, indeed.
For more on such plot-specific concepts, please enjoy this article: http://www.ansible.co.uk/Ansible/plot...
This book was mainly built to set up the finale, and feels in many ways to be less of a complete story than a 'second in a trilogy', without a real point and ending of its own, and reliant on the final chapter to decide its importance.
This is also the book with the greatest adherence to actually surprising the audience with a main character death. At least, it would be, if it weren't unfortunately easy to match the emotional directives given to the characters by the author and recognize that what the author wants us to think shows us precisely what will happen. Misdirection is an art, but it should not have to be a martial one.
Long story short, I unfortunately guessed the 'twist' and spent the greater part of this book watching the author try to throw red herrings in my path. A bit disappointing, but still a fairly interesting and exciting tale. The historical and character exploration provide some of the strongest elements in any of her books. It does not quite reach the heights in tone, emotion, or motivation of the last book, but she never does reach that height again.My Fantasy Book Suggestions