I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
I spent the first two chapters of this book crying. Why, you ask? Because the second book left Paks in such a hopeless, lonely place and in the first couple of chapters Master Oakhollow takes her in and is SO KIND. He demonstrates a kindness that’s often missing in our world today.
I had difficulty setting the book down—I really wanted to know what happened. But I just couldn’t give it 5 stars, despite these two factors. Once she was healed, Paks went right back to being a Mary Sue character, who could do no wrong and could see her way through all kinds (and I mean ALL kinds) of troubles without getting bent out of shape. This despite assurances to her on several occasions that she is a better Girdsman now, because she knows how helpless people feel. Plus she’s gone all religious and holy in the cult of Gird. For a girl who used to fight & cuss in Duke Phelan’s troops, it was odd to see her go so far to the other end of the spectrum.
Having said that, Moon creates a fascinating world—I would have loved to spend more time with the elves and gnomes and know a bit more about their societies. The ending, although okay, just kind of petered out. Rather like a fairy tale, when they just say that everyone lived happily ever after. A bit more detail in the resolution would have made me feel better about it.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable trilogy and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys high fantasy.
Book number 249 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.