Here was a satisfying conclusion to a series that left me at just the right state of plateau with some potential momentum on the horizon. The events of this book, and of the trilogy as a whole, are tied up enough to allow my brain to sigh and feel sated, and yet just enough matters are left unresolved that you know the characters are continuing on to deal with them in the New Normal of their parallel fantasy universe. This makes me as a reader feel good and not be left with a book hangover, which I get with too much cliffhanger or too much gift-wrapping at the end.
The plot provided all sorts of sharp left turns, and I was happy to go on the journey Salyards was leading, regardless of my own restless brain trying madly to predict outcomes. The author is beyond unafraid of killing off his characters to meet the demands of a captivating plot. I’m beginning to think he kind of likes it. But this is good. Makes for great reading and intense moments within the narrative you can’t have any other way.
Arki is a protagonist you want to root for. He grows throughout each book in the series, giving the reader those good vicarious feelings of accomplishment, even as our Archivist hero suffers new traumas and setbacks along the way. Not only do his own outlooks and abilities evolve, the other characters’ treatment of him adjusts, as well.
The surrounding cast of characters remains a band of BAMFs in a variety of flavors, all staying true to their portrayal in the first two books, while many still having secrets to reveal in this last book. The new characters introduced in Chains add just the right elements and seasoning to the plot. All characters, both extant and new, are written so that you care about what happens to them. This is no small feat.
As I believe I’ve said in my reviews of the first two books, the fantasy world woven here is complete and textured and real. It feels just gross enough that you could actually imagine living in it. Things are filthy. They smell horrible. And these are the details that take you out of a misty dreamscape and transport you to another, crunchy, violent reality. I’ll avoid any plot spoilers, but as the book description on Amazon says, once Killcoin’s company parts the Godveil in this final book in the series, a great testament to the author’s abilities is that I had really NO idea what to be expecting at that point. And I’m usually kind of a killjoy about predicting plots. Some of the imagery he created on the page was so unique, in fact, I had to stop and describe it to my spouse because someone else NEEDED to hear this immediately. So this is the kind of effective fantasy world-building you get to enjoy with this author.
I understand Salyards is working already on his next project, and I think it should go without saying that he is on my auto-buy list at this point. And you, person reading this Wall of Text review, should have given up three paragraphs ago and one-clicked this beast. Do it now. GO.