No question, this is the weakest book in this series by quite a large margin. Before I read it, I saw the sharp drop in the ratings for it, and I almost couldn’t believe it. The first two books were solid, what could possibly be so bad about this one? Well. Those ratings make sense now, because this book was aggressively incompetent. What were cute and comforting levels of predictability in the first two books became clichéd and eyeroll-worthy in this one.
The problem, I think, is that despite having a fairly good grasp on the in-world politics of Jaron’s kingdom, etc, Nielsen does not know how to write about war, or tactics, or battles, at all. She also seemed to have no clue how to structure this book, where with the first two, the structure was sound, and part of the charm. The whole book was just Jaron running around getting himself captured, and then participating in battles or fights with questionable realism. I found myself constantly wondering, is that even possible? What just happened?
And then, as if to try and make up for the rest of the book where it felt like she was scrambling to bring the story to a close, she added in some beyond clichéd “reveals” that came out of nowhere (oh, by the way this character we’ve known for two books has a secret missing son! I wonder if he will turn up somewhere!). Character reversals make no sense, and the economics and logistics beyond all the countries invading Carthya are vague at best.
I suppose it was worth it to finish out the story, but I might recommend to other readers to just stop after the first book, which is the best of the three, and then you can just imagine the ending you prefer.
[2.5 stars, rounded down because the difference in quality is staggering]
CBR Bingo: This is the End (Review the last book in a series.)