New York Times best-selling author Cinda Williams Chima's wildly popular Seven Realms books have won numerous accolades, including starred reviews and a VOYA Perfect Ten. In this stunning series conclusion, Queen Raisa ana' Marianna is desperately seeking a way to unite her people and keep peace within the Fells. Meanwhile, relations between the wizards and Clan approach a breaking point. Han Alister, now a member of the Wizard Council, learns the thousand-year-old secret that can unite the people of the kingdom - but he may not live long enough to use it.
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Great narration by Carol Monda, but I mostly read this book, alternating occasionally with audio. 3.75 stars for the story itself, the last book in the series and the best, despite some quibbles (noted last, below).
This series is YA with some allusions to sex but no explicit sex scenes. It's high fantasy in some sense, but no dragons, pixies, or gnomes. Lots of magic, though. Green earth magic used by the mountain clans (copperheads) and wizardly mumbo-jumbo used by the "gifted" (jinxflingers). And there are portentous visions of Gray Wolves (the spirits of ancestors, ancient queens). Pretty cool, but maybe the wolves appeared too frequently and lost a little of their pizzazz.
Compared to books 1 and 2, characterization is fairly consistent here in book 4. Characters didn't act counter to their upbringing or intelligence just to steer the plot. I didn't find myself rolling my eyes at stupidity, either. So, all good.
Several romances are going on. Primarily, there is Hans and Raisa, newly crowned queen. They earn this HEA and it felt solid. Dancer and Cat continue to develop their unlikely and yet heartwarming bond and --- SURPRISE! --- a secret relationship is revealed, one that began in book 2.
Villains are many and varied, but not cardboard. Sometimes they surprised me. Mostly they didn't.
Embraceable secondary characters. Fire Dancer develops a splendid new power yet stays true to his heart. And what a big heart it is! Crow is just a wonderfully vivid character -- no easy feat, considering he's only spirit. I loved his quirky brilliant personality, and wanted a happy ending for him. Lucius the blind immortal is textured, layered, and has a compelling backstory. The new captain of the Highland Army is a woman; she's weathered, sensible, and textured. I got a solid read on her. Cat played in some key scenes -- and not always on her basilka harp. Also, Dimitri and his Waterwalkers (from book 2) played in a brief but fun little scene. I did wish for children to get a pivotal role in this series, but even though they are occasionally present, they are minor players.
The plot includes a fair amount of political posturing as a new high wizard is elected, but it's easy to follow and necessary to the plot. I liked the scene when the wizards voted and various surprising event occurred.
Still miffed about what happened to Amon. He went from a burning hunk of love in books 1-2 to some flat and colorless character. The least Chima could have done was portray him with his fiancée in some tender and loving scenes.
Pace bogs down in too much internal dialogue, used by the author to ensure her readers remember important events, make key connections, and perceive her characters in the light she wants. I dislike this style of writing. Authors should trust readers to do their part. No need to spoon-feed us. Take out all the mental asides, reflection, rumination, guilt-tripping, etc. and the book would be better. And much shorter.
Its done. its done??? ohhhh, best book so far this year. I'm feeling the afterglow of this book. Considering if I should re-listen from book one again right away... Or wait... So good!!! This series ranks close to the top in my best series ever list.
The series is perfect for fans of series like Song of Ice and Fire (with the understanding that it is a YA series). It is a series full political drama, messy misunderstandings, robust characters you love and others you love to hate.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Han... Reisa...Han....? errrr....
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?