“Within the Sanctuary of Wings” is a terrific and surprising wrap-up to a solid series.
On first read, I felt that the stories were very enjoyable but a bit lightweight, and borrowed too much from Regency novels. But then I reread the entire series (I admit to binge-reading my way through a long commute). The world-building seems so natural, almost ordinary, with lots of similarities to our own world, but that very “naturalness” now feels very well-crafted and thoughtful. There are still plenty of mysteries — religious beliefs being one (is this world still waiting for a “savior?”) — but the unknowns are so much a part of the backstory of ordinary life, as well as Lady Trent’s extraordinary one, that they contribute to the larger landscape in a believable way, as if seen in your peripheral vision.
I was satisfied with each story read on its own, but the greater story arc of the series offers greater satisfactions, with twists and revelations along the way. There are romances that develop, lightly handled, deep friendships that grow over a decade or more, and the characters mature through their experiences. But the continuing focus on the wonders of natural history matches that of Lady Trent, who is telling the story, after all, and telling it well. I truly enjoyed sharing her discoveries.