- Page Count: 496
- Release Date: September 20, 2016
- My Rating: 4.5 stars
Goodreads book description:
Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe. Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.
Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.
Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.
As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.
This was a really satisfying conclusion! I’ve been kind of let down by the resolutions to a lot of my favorite YA fantasy trilogies, so I was a bit hesitant going into this… but it did not disappoint.
Basic plot overview: Meira trains with a wise master, learns how to use her magic, there’s a brief happy lull for romance, then the final battle & showdown ensues. I wasn’t terribly into the first 100 pages, but really got into the story once Meira realizes she needs to choose the future she wants and totally takes control. Her character growth is pretty impressive:
“It’s all a part of me, every horrific, squirming shadow – it’s all me and I will not hide from it anymore. I do not deserve to be crippled by it; I do not deserve to harbor this guilt, because yes, I messed up, but I learned from every mistake.”
The previous book established that since Meira is Winter’s conduit, she’ll have to throw herself into the chasm to destroy magic. She learns the Order created a labyrinth to protect the magic and only the most worthy can get access. There’s this prophecy/riddle thing about how the labyrinth demands three people with true intent enter to face a test of leadership, humility, and purification of the heart. So Meira enters with Sir and Mather, intent on sacrificing herself.
I also loved how Meria learns to basically apparate. And all of the inspirational dialogue in the beginning during training was wonderful:
“You are not what you’ve done. Who you are right now, this moment, is who you choose to be.”
“You act as though love is a goal you only achieve after so long spent working at it. And yes, work is involved, but at the end of it all, love is a choice – the kind you have with a spouse, with your people, with yourself. If you act on those things only when you felt them, you’d be like most people – eternally waiting for a feeling that may or may not come. But if you choose, every day, to love yourself no matter what – then dear heart, nothing can stop you.”
I was SO relieved that this story didn’t have Meira keep things a secret until the very end when they blew up because that is getting old in some other series. Her choice to tell someone made it more emotional because they were powerless to help her. Meira’s strength throughout the story when she was planning on going to her death was really inspiring – she only became stronger and chose to live fully in the moment. I won’t say how it ends, but I would have been totally fine with her living or dying! Either option was set up to be a strong finish.
And the story is split between the POVs of Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen, but it was still kind of weird to me that the latter two were in third person and Meira’s was in first person. Like it makes sense, but that switch was awkward for me in the previous book as well. I also had a hard time connecting with the story in several places again… I felt more like an observer than someone actually in the story. But other scenes made up for that. And I really do Ceridwen’s character, but I wasn’t particularly interested in her POV most of the time. I just wanted to get to Meira or Mather. (Those two were stinking adorable together).
I’m so glad everything worked out the way it did! Every storyline came together at the end and everything was tied up. This was a really fun, creative YA fantasy world that Sara Raasch created and I’d love to see more stories with all of these kingdoms.