The Eternal Emperor Shinzan continues to gather his strength. And the power he will unleash is beyond the imaginings of the spirits themselves. No army can stand against him. There is only one who can give Lumnia the freedom she has craved for so long. Only one who can save the world from being consumed by the Emperor's evil. But will it be Ethan who faces him? Or will it be Martok?
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First, the good: amazing setting, intriguing premise, engaging overall story arc. The world building was very thorough and feels real. Then the bad: dear author, please, please, for the love of all that is holy, learn how to SHOW not TELL. Every single character is flat with absolutely no ongoing dimension. They get interesting for a time, when they are angry, but all too soon they cease to be real people and instead become plot devices meant to move the action forward. Some books do this well - this one does not. FAR too much time is spent with characters nattering at one another and drags down the action (which the book(s - this review spans books 1-4) do well). Were I to make a suggestion to the author, it would be to eliminate 90% of the word and sentiment of "I understand". There is absolutely no ambiguity, no subtext, no friction between characters, that make for entertaining dialogue and character development. It's always and forever, "I understand" followed inevitably by "it's alright, we're good." BORING. Another way to improve is to completely eliminate all forms of the phrase "somehow he knew." Again, BORING, and straight up lazy writing. TELL ME HOW HE KNEW. That's how you "show, don't tell."
Overall, I'm not displeased to have read up to this point, because the overall story was so engaging. But the series should have ended at this point. There was good resolution with the final battle, and could have been wrapped up neatly. But there is no compelling reason for me to read further. I won't be coming back for the characters, because there are no characters, only plot devices. The forced continuation of the series feels just that - forced. The story arc that continues into the fifth was all introduced in the fourth book, and only the last half of it at that. With everything else that was going on, and the fact that the important sub plots have been wrapped up nicely, there's no reason to care about this ongoing dragged out arc. Needless to say, I shan't be reading further.