I loved the trilogy and was excited to read this sequel. I now wish I hadn't read it, however, because it turns the entire story into a Greek tragedy, you end up hating half the characters as they cater to the worst in their natures, and the anticipated dressing down that you expect for the villain is so understated that the awaited climax is ruined. I also agree with other reviewers that the narration was really bad. The other issue is that the book ends with the fate of several characters completely unknown or poorly fleshed out. There are some characters introduced in a way that leads you to expect them to play into the story (like Takeo's sister), but the book ends with the foreshadowing having been for nothing. I ended the book hating Kaede, having tons of unanswered questions, and not knowing the fate of several key characters. If you loved the trilogy, don't ruin it with this book.
This book borrows heavily from better books--the plot overlaps with Lord of the Rings practically enough to warrant a lawsuit. I almost wondered if the author was purposefully trying to copy Lord of the Rings to make some sort of artistic statement, but I don't think he was, which just makes him a plagiarist. Also, I think I would have enjoyed this book more in print because hearing the horrible writing in my ear for 24 hours only made the awkward prose more noticeable. I rolled my eyes on more than one occasion and probably would have given up on the entire book if I weren't on a long bus trip. So, listening to this book was better than staring out a window and listening to babies cry and people talk on their cell phones...but it was a close call.
It took me forever to get through this book. The pace is very slow, the action is almost nonexistent (and when it does exist, it is presented in such an understated way that you can't really get caught up in it). The book rambles on just for the sake of rambling and spends hours introducing characters and plot lines that turn out to be completely irrelevant (and which aren't even revisited prior to the novel's end, leaving the reader with unanswered questions and a sense that the author lost track of what she was writing about). You spend 30 hours building up to a finale that is anticlimactic and abrupt. This book could be great if it were half as long with all the extraneous material cut, but as written, it's like watching paint dry.
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