||The end of this trilogy had many
unexpected twists and turns, and was quite enjoyable, night after night.
I always looked forward to continuing the story, as things Damin
expected were turned on their sides. The story was more straightforward
than the previous two, and focused mostly on Damin, and the events and
people he had to overcome to achieve his goal in defeating the invaders,
though my one complaint is that the whole trap was executed exactly as
it was laid out beforehand, without any real twists. Marla's plan to defeat her nemesis was also
enjoyable, but much more predictable. If anything, I found Alija to be
an inept villain, in the end. Damin's final moment of triumph is taken
from him in an unexpected way, which was a nice way to end the trilogy.
Full spoiler review:
I'm almost sad to finish this book, as I quite enjoy this
author's style, and I really enjoyed the characters -much more, I think,
than the Demon Child Trilogy characters.
I did feel a little lost at the beginning of this story,
as the things that were talked about at the end of Warrior were not even
discussed for a long time. Of course, there are huge communication
delays in this world, because all news has to travel by horseback, and
most cities are still closed due to the plague, which seems to be in
But Damin travels to the province that borders Fardhonya,
which has two passes across the mountains to that country. There he
encounters a challenge to his authority, in the form of his brother
Narvel. I like the way the brains behind Damin's own intelligence is
Tejay. As a woman, she has a different perspective than Damin, and is
able to look at the whole picture, and give unique solutions. Plus, she
is changing the culture, even more than Marla did. Even though she is
laughed at by all the men, she still believes she can be a better
warlord than any of them.
Narvel comes with his own set of problems -he's sleeping
with the wife of a baron who gave him shelter while he waited for Damin.
Damin delays any resolution stating that only the High Prince can rule
on the affair. When they reach Sunrise province, they find the reason
Tejay left her husband to begin with. It seems he is an inept warlord
and a mean man. When Damin sends him out to check on one of the mountain
passes, he is killed by an avalanche, one sparked by Brak the Halfbreed
to reduce the scope of the war and deny the god of war any chance at
The politics of Greenharbor was always fun, but the open
war between Marla and Alija wasn't as interesting as I had hoped it
would be. Marla keeps the dwarf's death a secret, but hires an assassin
to kill Alija's slave. Alija knows the laws about the High Prince
leading the army, so she makes the suggestion to Lernen, who agrees!
This a huge blow to the war effort, but Damin handles it very well.
While Alija is anticipating a huge embarrassment and maybe even the
deaths of Lernen and Damin, as is her son, a warlord in his own right,
Damin makes it sound like Lernen made all the suggestions, and makes him
look like a genius, even though everyone knows Damin is behind it. What
they don't know is that Tejay is also behind it, guiding Damin and
pushing him hard for her own security.
When the battle begins, Tejay disguises herself as her dead husband in a
suit of armor, leading the Fardhonian troops into a trap. It was
well-written and enjoyable, but I thought the author should not have
discussed the trap so openly if it was going to happen again exactly as
it was described. It was effective, but I would normally expect
something to go wrong at some point. In the end, the Fardhonian general
surrenders after Damin sneaks up on him, after the trap is sprung and
the Fardhonians are effectively defeated.
King Hablet of Fardhonia doesn't get to do much in this story. He
worries about his eldest daughter as usual, as she takes a fancy to his
new general. Hablet is paranoid enough to believe that if his daughter
married the general, the warrior would be a great threat to his throne.
But the war ends in disgrace anyway, so it doesn't really matter in the
Marla actually gets to worry about something other than her kids in this
book. A high-ranking member of the assassin's guild has taken an
interest in her, physically. He has a kind of magnetism that seems to
make all women irresistible to him, and Marla falls for him, too. It's
something that I think men have trouble believing and understanding, but
I am led to believe it is a realistic effect. But Galon is also sleeping
with Alija, something Marla uses against both of them. She finds a way
to bring him into her world when Wrayan arrives, and mind-scans him.
Then they begin to plot...
The plot was very confusing, and hard to believe. But Alija doesn't see
through it, even when Galon tells her about it, as a plot within a plot.
While she believes Marla wants her to implicate herself in the
Fardhonian invasion, she angrily confesses to killing Ronan Dell back in the
first book, as well as the head of the Sorcerer's collective at the end
of it, and a whole bunch of other crimes, before Wrayan kills her
silently, placing himself inside her mind. In the end, she feels like an
ineffective villain. Waiting twelve years for a plan to take fruition in
Warrior? Not taking advantage of all the information she got out of
Elezaar at the end of that book? Falling for such a trap? I didn't feel
that her machinations were all that interesting.
The assassin's guild still wants payment for services rendered when
Marla had Nash killed, which was to be a son, but of course Marla can't
give one away. After Alija is killed, she surrenders to Galon's
seductions and offers to marry him. Since his son is already promised to
the assassin's guild, her payment can be considered met.
Back in Krakandar, Starros is waking up the reality that his soul was
sold to the god of thieves, Mahkas is crippled after Damin attacked him
last book, and is paranoid that Damin will come to steal "his" city.
Because Damin was so respectful of Lernen and won the battle against the
Fardohnian, the High Prince granted him his wish to lower the age of
majority, allowing him and several others to become warlords, making
Mahkas' fears come true.
Xanda, Damin's half-brother and husband to Luciena, who was to be
Alija's trap in the last book, is effectively in control, but has to
appease his uncle. Mahkas won't open the city gates, nor send Damin
support troops. Starros, fully bent on revenge, decides to give his new
god a thrill, by stealing the population of Krakandar out from under the
regent's nose. And he succeeds, thanks to the thieves' guild and several
other guilds in the city. But when Damin arrives, he finds Mahkas
already dead. It was his wife who killed him, with hundreds of little
stab wounds. She finally realized, after Mahkas effectively killed their
daughter, that she knew all his secrets. She figured out that he killed
his sisters back in Wolfblade, and even Damin's father, and plenty of
other smaller secrets. The news didn't affect Damin as I thought it
would, but maybe because Mahkas was already dead.
The only problem I had with the end to this particular storyline was the
way Wrayan said he couldn't prevent her suicide after she killed her
husband, citing that he couldn't make somebody do something they didn't
want to do -no coercion. But Rorin picked up the baron and held him
upside down in a pub when he became hostile. Why couldn't Wrayan, much
more powerful, have just lifted her up and put her down in a safe place?
As always, there were a myriad other smaller plots, which really filled
out the book and the culture. Most of these were personalities, and made
it a lot of fun to read. I would pick up other books by this author, as
she writes a rich world full of interesting characters.