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Flawed ending to a brilliant serries
on March 24, 2009
After reading the wonderful Empress and equally good Riven Kingdom, I could not wait to start reading the conclusion to the series. Sadly, I should have left this one in the store and imagined my own conclusion to the trilogy.
It's not that the characters aren't interesting, nor the story compelling; it's the interactions of the two that makes this tale sadly lacking.
A major portion of the book centers on Rhian trying to become the queen she needs to be. Yet, even though she somewhat does, it doesn't really accomplish anything. There is little in her decisions, or little in any of her angst about being a killing queen, or even in her training that has any real relevancy in what concludes the tale.
When I finished the final battle, and set the book down to contemplate it, this became more and more evident. Fine she consolidated her power, did it help her? Not really. She had a hard time with her husband, did it matter? Not really. She distrusted Zandakar, did it matter? Not really. She gathered a fleet, did it matter? No. All of the main lines of conflict and tension ended up being mere window dressing for a final staged set piece battle.
Even one of the main fights was nothing more than page filler that while visually compelling, was utterly pointless. The armada that Rhain spent much of the book worrying about gathering? Pointless. The army that she never raised, useless. The skills she learned, moderately useful, but only in her own personal struggle.
So why did I read several hundred pages of sometimes angsty conflict? The sad thing is that I am not sure. While we will never be certain, I feel the author had written the ending, needed a page count, and filled until she reached it. The story would have been so much better if the 500 or so odd pages leading up to the end had some relevancy to the finish.
In the end, I'm both glad and sad that I read this book. I am glad for seeing her final vision for where this tale was heading. However, I am sad that I should have just read the last 100 pages and been much happier.