Seeing as this book is actually the sixth book in the series, I’m not going to recap much (if any) of the previous books.
This book was good. If I had no other responsibilities I doubt I would have put it down. Like so many good fantasy novels this book is ultimately about good versus evil. And Elizabeth Haydon has done a beautiful job creating a world and characters where this plot line comes to life.
Haydon introduces a few new characters to her audience. And like so many times in prior novels she gives you a glimpse of who they are and then slowly reveals more aspects of them. The rather flat character you first see becomes more real as each encounter with them shows another flaw or strength or gives more history to explain how they became the person they are. Haydon is gifted at taking archetypal characters and then adding so much dimension to them they become completely believable people.
In this book, more pieces fall into place and so the audience’s understanding of the conflict broadens even more. One worry I have, the story keeps getting bigger and bigger, in that manner it reminds me of Robert Jordan’s series which got so big it became a bit of a mess (a mess I personally loved.) I hope Haydon is able to keep her story on track.
While pieces are falling into place this book lacks an overall arc. It really seems to be setting up for the next book. And so the conclusion of this book (more so than her previous books) doesn’t have that feeling of completeness. There is no single great conflict contained in this book and so there is no single battle and no single outcome at the end. Yet, there are several smaller conflicts and those conflicts coupled with characters the readers already love make this book a delicious addition to her series.
The flaw, if you were waiting to hear it, is simply that the book is over. And the next book isn’t written yet. If you haven’t begun the series, maybe wait until she writes the concluding book. Here is a lesson I should have learned several unfinished series ago: don’t start a series until the last book is written. It is painful to wait years and years for that conclusion.