From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-This final book in the beautifully complex and sophisticated trilogy picks up right where Froi of the Exiles (Candlewick, 2012) ended. Quintana is hiding from those who want to kill her and steal her unborn child, the heir to the kingdom of Charyn. Froi, wounded but recovering, is desperately searching for her as armies converge to battle over her right to exist. Political misunderstandings and shifting alliances have given rise to distrust between provinces that should be allies. Amid the horrors of battle, there are also moments of humor in not found in the earlier titles, mostly related to child rearing and the idiocy of men, in the women's opinion. It also "looks at the side of wonder as opposed to the disastrous" to paraphrase a favorite saying of some of the characters. Marchetta gives intriguing secondary characters such as Perri, Lucian, Tesadora, and Phaedra their rightful due as she fills in their backstories. But it is the fates of the main players-Quintana, Froi, Isaboe, and Finnikin-with all of their strengths and weaknesses that readers will find so deeply satisfying. Like the other books, this one begs to be read slowly and savored for its carefully crafted plotting, lyrical language, and fully fleshed-out characters.-Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trentonα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* With previous installments of her mesmerizing Lumatere Chronicles, Marchetta allowed readers the satisfaction of piecing together parts of the puzzle that is the saga of the lands and peoples of Skuldenore, but the entire picture remained tantalizingly incomplete. Now, with this brilliant final volume, the remaining pieces snap perfectly into place. Froi sets out to find and protect pregnant Quintana, his strange and savage love; raise an army against the usurper; and prevent war. As in the previous volumes, the narrative is complex, alternating between Froi’s journey and the concurrent events in Lumatere, but here the plot is more straightforward, while the previous volumes’ excellent features—world building, plotting, and characterization—continue to shine. Marchetta builds on the reader’s knowledge of this world, adding rich sensory details to help create the vivid setting. She skillfully expands our understanding of the large cast of characters, most from the earlier books, through her masterful depictions of relationships. Of special interest is the portrayal of the often unlikable Quintana, whose very existence is the catalyst that offers the promise of peace and hope. As Froi gains understanding of the disparate pieces that make up Quintana, readers put together the intricately plotted pieces that make this vivid and wholly satisfying story complete. A standout fantasy series. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The multiple copies that you order now may not be enough to satisfy Marchetta’s legions of fans, who have been buzzing about this trilogy’s conclusion for months. Grades 9-12. --Lynn Rutan