In general, I really enjoyed this series. But this book was definitely the weakest of the three, which is a shame, because it was the end.
I have come to be extremely emotionally invested in Dar and in Kovoh-mah, her orc companion. I wanted to see their love succeed against all odds. (view spoiler) And I hated it, because it seemed to me that the theme of the series was intended to be how a woman in a bad situation seizes her own agency and rises above her circumstances with the shitty hand she’s been dealt. And in the end, she lost all that agency that she’d gained, after being used and discarded by a holy power.
As a result, I feel cheated.
Now, that’s the subplot. It occupies the greatest part of my brain because the main plot has gone from a really interesting and intense dark fantasy, focused on the fate of a small character, to a vast high fantasy with tropish villains and even tropier conflicts. The villain often has plot armour, Dar is smart or stupid according to plot convenience, and every woman except Dar is two-dimensionally rendered and easily filed into “all good” or “all stupid.” Well, except the Lore-Keeper. She was pretty awesome, to be fair.
I guess I just expected *more,* and it didn’t deliver. There’s nothing objectively wrong with the plot or characters, or any of the events as they unfolded. It’s just… not what the beginning promised.
Three stars for “it was all right.” The first book is amazing. The second is good. But be warned, Game of Thrones fans – the end is decidedly lacklustre.