Although it’s amazing in its own right, it’s not quite as good as Strange the Dreamer. Things went in a drastically different direction than expected, but to say any more would give too much away. It was still about all consuming hatred but on a broader scale. Somehow it managed to more and less hopeful at the same time, causing my emotions to be toyed with endlessly. The vibe was totally different, and much of this had to do with the characters. Several characters had more prominent roles and new characters were introduced. Some of this was necessary for the plot to unravel and make sense. There were times when I would have preferred that it focus more on the core characters.
The duality of good and evil was portrayed well. People aren’t one or the other; they’re both. Even more so than Strange the Dreamer, this delved into how much of being good or evil depends on one’s perspective. What makes a person a hero can make them a monster or enemy in the eyes of another depending on what they believe. Emotions are incredibly complex, and unfortunately are not always logical. Changing what people believe is complicated because many who do bad things genuinely believe they are doing the right thing.
A huge part of this was about forgiveness and redemption. I greatly appreciated how this showed that good people can become consumed with hate or so focused on a single thing that it destroys them. It made it easy to understand how good people do bad things and how those people can genuinely regret what they did. Even people who commit atrocities can change for the better although they’ll never be who they were in the beginning. The one thing I found unbelievable was that so many characters saw the error of their ways in a rather short period of time.
The writing was beautiful. Laini Taylor is a true wordsmith. She excels at delving into complex emotions. Her books make me feel in a way many don’t. This was an excellent conclusion to the series. I hope there’s more. There could be so much more.
Thanks so much to Edelweiss and the publisher for giving me this in exchange for an honest review!