Rating: 4 out of 5
Well, I didn’t expect this… I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t quite this. On the whole, I really enjoyed this conclusion to the series but some of the choices the author made really looked weird to me. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the broad scope of the story even if it all felt pretty easy going for the protagonists (they would probably disagree with this assessment). We start this book looking at the far-away continent where the overlords (Pride Lords) are from who have been causing all this trouble in the previous two books. It’s an interesting land, even if the society isn’t particularly complex (fear, fear, and more fear… and, voila, the local systems are kept in line…). What’s more interesting is how a sudden turnaround in Baron Daylon’s opportunity to react against the former invaders which didn’t seem particularly likely in the second book and that’s not particularly well chronicled in this either.
But, first, in reviewing the first two books (King of Ashes and Queen of Storms) I mentioned that Mr Feist started with some story lines that did not have a clear purpose. It was quite easy to confirm in this book that, actually, some of these did not have a purpose. While a spoiler, it will spoil little of the fun of the actual series to say that the entire escapade with the water witches was absolutely pointless. The main character looks back at the witches (very little time later, I should say), to find all their power gone. Meanwhile, the curse the witches put into effect dissipates without ever being carried out so it only acts as a talking point for the people in the book (most of whom take it as a joke). Why is this sub-plot in the series? No idea…
The other aspect which I did not like is that most descriptions of the series place it separate from the Riftwar saga while the author has very clearly tied it into those stories. It could have been separate, but it isn’t, and I don’t see what pretending that it’s not part of those books will do except mislead people. Sure, the overlap isn’t huge, but it’s there and characters from one appear in the other (Riftwar characters definitely appear here). I was unable to remember if characters from this book also appear in the Riftwar books, but it did seem to me in one case that was so—I was unable to actually figure out the character in question so I’m not 100% on this.
But, aside from these two criticisms, I had a fun time reading this. All in all, the problems with the books were never such that I didn’t want to continue experiencing the story. Mr Feist has created (or added to) a world that I really enjoyed, and though my favourite chapters of the series were those considering the activities of a publican (second book), the greater conflict on show in this last book was also enjoyable, if not in quite the same way. The best parts were the comeuppance of the Pride Lords and their system of government and how this was arranged (though the reader sees little of the actual logistical developments).
I liked the series and while I am not sure I would re-read this (at least soon), I did enjoy the final volume at least as much as the previous ones.