Spoilers for this book and some for the first two books as well.
This is a 3.5 star series for me, I think. I liked the first book well enough, but the series really didn’t get interesting until midway through book two, when the actual plot started to come out and play. That second book, in a rare occurrence for a trilogy, I think in retrospect was actually the best one of the series. It had the most exciting action, the most believable conflict, and emotional stakes in the rift between Devi and Caldswell’s crew (specifically Rupert). It had also had a well done reversal in that “the good guys” believably became “the bad guys” before we learned that everyone is equally grey.
This last book wraps things up well enough, but a little too cleanly for my taste. I’m not sure how else it could have gone, except that it just felt a little too neat. It was nice for Devi that she was finally able to open up and trust Rupert but it sapped all the tension out of their interactions pretty early in the book, leaving no room at the end for a true reconciliation, and forcing the author to create false tension by having Devi think Rupert has been killed. One of the most cliched as possible scenarios in fiction (movies or books) to have someone “killed” when everything else in the story is telling you that that person is actually alive. It’s an empty moment that I didn’t buy, even if Devi was temporarily devastated by it.
All in all, for a book that started out so badass, I would have appreciated a little more darkness, or bittersweetness, in the ending. It was almost fairytale-like in the way it actually played out. Devi is even knighted by her beloved fairytale space king, and she and Rupert ride off into the sunset. It just didn’t feel like it matched up with the tone of the rest of the story.
All in all, glad I checked this series out, and will probably check out the author’s fantasy (written under Rachel Aaron) as well.
[3.5 stars, rounded up]