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    satisfying conclusion

    It's a testament to how much I loved this series that I feared ever reading this book. Because this book meant I would come close to the conclusion, to the pain that started Tea's journey in the first book, when she truly became the feared Dark Asha everyone was waiting her to be. Much like the previous two, this book also goes on in split time, with the present being narrated by an until now unnamed bard, and the past being narrated by Tea. The change in this book is that while both the earlier books had Tea also present with the bard, this one has the bard with all the others - the previous allies of Tea, including her brother Fox. So, the present time of the book is spent in getting to know what they were up to, and their confusion over Tea's actions, and trying to ascertain what she intends. In the past, meanwhile, as we are getting closer and closer to Kalen's death, we also see Tea being tormented by the Dark in her, by her questioning her sanity, being forced to be on the run because of something she doesn't remember doing, and finding out the secrets behind the creation myth of their world. I must admit, the book took me a while to get into in the start, because of the slightly different setting. The world is gearing up for war, in both the past and the present, and Tea has some life- and world-changing decisions to make. Her quest to spare Dark Asha the fate they have been resigned to since centuries molds her into an ideal vessel for an ancient prophecy, but there's also the simple fact that she is just a girl with powerful magic who wished for a simpler life. On the point of pain, this book hits its mark several times, while also expounding on the relationships Tea holds closest to her heart. Still, it has its lighter moments, and I loved how hers and Likh's friendship deepened in this book. Additionally, Likh's arc to accept her identity as a woman was done very well. Hers and Khalad's romance, however, felt like it developed mostly off-page so on-page it felt very rushed? Finally, there were some errors in the galley I read, where a couple of character names were misplaced (a couple of times Kalen was used instead of Kance, leading to some confusion on my part, as well as one chapter where Likh is said to be away on battle when it is obviously not the case). The writing didn't feel as rich as the first book (which blew me away with its details) but I guess this was a different book than that, and also the descriptive nature of that didn't sit well with many readers so maybe it was better to tone it down after all for sake of the plot. Overall, as a conclusion, it works beautifully to wrap up the series, give the characters a good ending, and leave on a satisfactory note.
3

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