After taking advantage of one of Audible's "Try The First Book in a Series" options I fell madly in love with the story and the characters in Storm Born. When finished, I immediately jumped into the Thorn Queen and again was not disappointed. As for Iron Crowned....WHAT HAPPENED? It was like Eugenie had a frontal lobotomy or something. In the first two books she was intelligent, considerate, caring, and rational. In Iron Crowned she became weak, ineffective, sort-of-sleazy, and unable/unwilling to think about the consequences of her unendingly poor decisions. I quit listening several times only to go back later with hope that maybe she would get her act together. But no such luck.
The minute Eugenie turns on Dorian and picks up so easily with the shallow, self-centered Kiyo again, I thought I was done. I mean talk about a ridiculous about-face. She didn't even bother to take two minutes to try to work things out with the person she supposedly loves. She instead makes up her mind without speaking to him, justifies cheating on him, then acts all self-righteous throughout the rest of the book. That was when I first quit listening. Later I thought surely Ms Read would not leave her heroine incapable of learning from her mistakes, but sorry, no chance of that happening. After that every decision she made was so ridiculous all I could do was shake my head and ask, "Really?"
On top of the Eugenie character meltdown I wondered why Ms Read couldn't at least keep her powers together. One minute she's all powerful and the next she's useless. She's supposed to be Storm King's daughter and the most powerful of all the Gentry yet she's constantly getting her a$$ handed to her. Come on. I understand flawed characters and their appeal, but either she's powerful or she's not.....a little consistency please. The nail in the coffin to this story was her handling of Kiyo when he.....Surprise!.....turns on her then she goes groveling back to Dorian. Uuuhhhgggg - I can no longer muster an ounce of respect.
Since this book has so deflated my excitement about the series I went online to read other reviews about the next book, Shadow Heir, which is the final in the series. I needed some hope that it wasn't more of the same so I could finish the series feeling at least a little positive. Unfortunately for me about half the reviews pretty much portray more of the same decay to the story-line and the characters. From what I've read, the ending in Shadow Heir has left so many readers reeling and upset that I've decided I don't want to go there. I've never dumped a series before, but this time I must. Unless you like to be left angry and frustrated with no answers to the most basic questions, sub-plots that add no substance, and a wishy-washy heroine that sinks to new lows right up to the end, don't waste a credit.
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