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535 pages, Hardcover
First published January 1, 2009
I read the first and adored it, the story was tight and unique and fast. I read the second and loved it even more, though the cliffhanger annoyed me. The series pace quickened even more in the third, and the fourth did not let me down for action, strong characters, unique creatures and situations - but now I have to wait for the LAST book to come!! Ack!
Brandon Mull can write an action sequence like no one else, excellent visuals with rapid fire motion that I can follow. Oftentimes I find written action to be difficult to follow, either too choppy and jerky or far too polished to feel real. Mull has it down for sure. What most endears me to these books is his use of less common mythology for the creatures - we don't have the typical regurgitation of "Lord of the Rings" based archetypes, nor did he completely pull the mythical beings out of his ass. They are based on existing types, and well blended with what might be considered "accepted" lore, and lesser known but pre-existing lore. This means the world to me, and makes the unfolding story a constant delightful discovery.
A bit darker than the last three books, this one contains a couple of good, startling revelations about characters you have known and liked in the prior - and leaves just enough room at the end to keep your feet dangling. I hope the conclusion keeps up with the quality of the series thus far, it is one of my favorites to pass on to my customers so far.