I had read the rest of the series, and so reading the final book seemed to be a must. I find the series, on the whole, to be overtly depressing. There is a need, in most fantasy novels, to put the main character, and in turn, those around him or her, through trials, mostly because the reward at the end is a fantastic one – rather like the television show ‘Survivor’. Before I had read this series, the character who had suffered the MOST with the least return on that pain had been Vanyel in ‘The Last Herald Mage’, but the understanding there was that (a) he was gay and in a major public eye, and so the author seemed to need to make him pay for this and (b) he was to be an Epic Hero, and Epic Heroes tend to have very crap lives, because they will live beyond their time.
Well, move over, Vanyel—we have a new winner in the pain lottery and guess what? Rani doesn’t even get the cute lover and forever friend in the way of a Companion that comes to her in her afterlife—all she gets is the semi insane king who had the hots for her since he met her as a batty teenager and the knowledge that she is master in a craft where every other master that there is really hates her guts and blames her for the destruction of their onetime prosperous guild. She has no real friends, as they’ve been killed off or driven nuts, or just plain realized that she is a crap magnet… she has no career, really—the universe WILL deal with her due to the money and power behind her, but she is still deemed a jinx… and she herself lives with the screaming ghosts of the past.
Wow, some hero… oh wait, she isn’t even THAT as hundreds of children were put into slavery due to her inability to give the help she promised.. masters and apprentices were maimed, killed, and destroyed due to her, oh and yeah… three people she loved went nuts. Woo hoo, sign me up to be a hero in this author’s universe…. NOT.