Excellent story, great characters, I did not want to stop listening. This is more of a YA fantasy, with the main characters being 15 and 16, but there..Show More » is a lot to keep your attention. This story does not have as much political intrigue as some fantasy so the story moves along quickly. I am going right on to book 2. I am totally hooked.
So Amazon.com has been calling this series a trilogy, it's not. No closure here. But that's actually ok. Turns out this is the best one yet (though ..Show More »I think the 4th book should be it). The first book, The Demon King, was a slow builder as the foundations of the characters, their past, and their environments was filled out by the author with care. The second book, The Exiled Queen, had more happening. But this third one is full of action driving the story forward at a much quicker pace. There are many exciting developments and I was caught by surprise at the sudden announcement of the narrator saying, "The End." I should have noticed the subtle difference in the publisher description as a 'seven realms novel' instead of 3rd in a trilogy. But the listening hours were long enough and the story definitely engaging enough that I wasn't too put out. The narrator is limited in her range of believable male voices but is still enjoyable. I will be getting the next one... (I don't repeat story synopsis in a review since that is found in the book description already, but, since no ratings are given it should be said that all 3 so far have been completely 'clean' of adult content for anyone who is concerned about that)
Great narration by Carol Monda, but I mostly read this book, alternating occasionally with audio. 3.75 stars for the story itself, the last book in th..Show More »e series and the best, despite some quibbles (noted last, below).
This series is YA with some allusions to sex but no explicit sex scenes. It's high fantasy in some sense, but no dragons, pixies, or gnomes. Lots of magic, though. Green earth magic used by the mountain clans (copperheads) and wizardly mumbo-jumbo used by the "gifted" (jinxflingers). And there are portentous visions of Gray Wolves (the spirits of ancestors, ancient queens). Pretty cool, but maybe the wolves appeared too frequently and lost a little of their pizzazz.
Compared to books 1 and 2, characterization is fairly consistent here in book 4. Characters didn't act counter to their upbringing or intelligence just to steer the plot. I didn't find myself rolling my eyes at stupidity, either. So, all good.
Several romances are going on. Primarily, there is Hans and Raisa, newly crowned queen. They earn this HEA and it felt solid. Dancer and Cat continue to develop their unlikely and yet heartwarming bond and --- SURPRISE! --- a secret relationship is revealed, one that began in book 2.
Villains are many and varied, but not cardboard. Sometimes they surprised me. Mostly they didn't.
Embraceable secondary characters. Fire Dancer develops a splendid new power yet stays true to his heart. And what a big heart it is! Crow is just a wonderfully vivid character -- no easy feat, considering he's only spirit. I loved his quirky brilliant personality, and wanted a happy ending for him. Lucius the blind immortal is textured, layered, and has a compelling backstory. The new captain of the Highland Army is a woman; she's weathered, sensible, and textured. I got a solid read on her. Cat played in some key scenes -- and not always on her basilka harp. Also, Dimitri and his Waterwalkers (from book 2) played in a brief but fun little scene. I did wish for children to get a pivotal role in this series, but even though they are occasionally present, they are minor players.
The plot includes a fair amount of political posturing as a new high wizard is elected, but it's easy to follow and necessary to the plot. I liked the scene when the wizards voted and various surprising event occurred.
Still miffed about what happened to Amon. He went from a burning hunk of love in books 1-2 to some flat and colorless character. The least Chima could have done was portray him with his fiancée in some tender and loving scenes.
Pace bogs down in too much internal dialogue, used by the author to ensure her readers remember important events, make key connections, and perceive her characters in the light she wants. I dislike this style of writing. Authors should trust readers to do their part. No need to spoon-feed us. Take out all the mental asides, reflection, rumination, guilt-tripping, etc. and the book would be better. And much shorter.