A guest review by Sirius
Summary: The end is drawing near in these series and I still have more questions than answers.
After saving his people, killing the man he once loved, and losing his little sister, Fen Jacin-rei has made his way to Tambalon with his surviving brothers and Kamen Malick. But shortly after arriving, old ghosts resurface, new dangers arise, and Malick tells Fen the gods aren’t done with him yet.Fen now knows he’s a catalyst for Fate and a magnet for Fate’s players, and he’s dangerously close to falling over the edge into insanity. But tracking down the vicious creatures that have been abducting and murdering citizens of Tambalon is just as critical as dealing with past lives and legendary beings.With a threat all too close and a secret he needs to explain, Malick is at odds with those who should be his allies, and no matter how much he wants to protect Fen, it may be more than he can manage when he’s trying to keep them alive.
As blurb tells you we catch up with Kamen Malick, Jacin Rei and other members of their merry band in Tavalon. My favorite part of this book was the first few pages in the beginning where Malick reflects why he fell in love with Jacin. It is written in such a beautiful and lyrical way that my eyes were tearing up a little bit. I also really loved Malick and Jacin together –in bed and out of bed. They have such raw and powerful chemistry that very few writers in this genre can match IMO. Unfortunately I was tired of reading about a lot of the same themes going on. I thought that Jacin apparently would never stop suffering and would never acquire any agency. At the very least this is the conclusion I am forced to make after reading three books out of the four which this series supposedly consists of. Honestly, while in the last book I felt that my emotions were too engaged and I felt and was upset for Jacin and with Jacin, there is only as much one can pile up on one character and expect me to empathize and relate to him. I guess I wanted Jacin to acquire some agency, I wanted to shake him and beg him to start acting instead of reacting and try to accept his fate instead of just being a blind toy in the hands of fate and only when somebody hurts him again, he tries to give a response . His actions in the last quarter of the book gave me some hope that he started taking his destiny in his own hands, but the ending made me wonder.
I also had some problems with the plot of the series in general. I think I figured out why these series are slowly but surely turning out into the chore for me instead of thing of beauty despite the beautiful writing and great characters. It is book three and so much was hinted in the books about world building, about gods and their immortal servants, about a fascinating past war between two nations. I have read three books and so far I do not understand what is happening on the grand scale of things at all. If the series will contain four books, isn’t it about time to let the readers know what is this all about? Oh I get that Jacin (especially with his new powers revealed) is somehow in the middle of everybody else’s purposes and desires – basically everybody wants him for their needs, because he is so powerful and his desires be damned, I get all that. I guess my confusion lies in the fact that I do not understand what do they need Jacin for besides “saving the Cycle” whatever the heck that means. I mean, there was “saving Gin” which Jacin was interested in and which looked so promising in some ways at the end of book two, but we do not see anything happened in that department at the end of book three either. I honestly admit to being very confused as to what the blurb means when they mention “saving his people” part. I interpreted what happened in book two as something on much smaller scale than what “saving Gin” was supposed to mean when it was brought up initially. I understand that we still have book four, I do, but not feeling too optimistic at the moment.
I still love Jacin and Malick and I still think that the writing is beautiful and plots which revolve around different people, fractions and not quite people trying to get Jacin for themselves and their Gods move quite fast, but I just kept thinking that something else would happen and it never did. I am not talking about any particular plot point, I am just wondering when the things would start moving on the grand scale in this world, when the “epic” part of fantasy would happen, if that makes sense. I fully realize that it is my subjective reaction and not the writer’s failure, but at least here I cannot subscribe my reaction fully to my emotions being too involved. I felt like something was missing, I just have no idea what.