I often approach the final book in a series with some trepidation. Will it live up to the rest of the series, will the author be able to create enough impact for a finale but also finish it in a way that leaves you satisfied? I’d really enjoyed the five previous books that were set in the Winter Kingdoms, so I had both high hopes and mild anxiety when I picked up this final book.
I was in tears by page five so that put my fears to a sad rest!
Martin has managed to create a book utterly in keeping with the rest of the series, with the same engaging writing style. The characters I love so much are present and pressed at every turn. With the characters so scattered in different countries, it could have easily become confusing as what was happening and where but the author managed to keep it very clear and progression between segments felt very natural and smooth.
A very mild complaint I had from The Sworn was that Kiara was kept out of most of the story due to pregnancy and this time it was Carina’s turn. I felt the loss of her input but in the end it felt more real, that a heavily pregnant woman couldn’t take part in a brutal war. I’m glad that little snippets of her were included as it would just not have been the same without her.
The story doesn’t let up in intensity or pace, with Martin driving my emotions as a reader as hard as she does her characters. It’s full of the things that are guaranteed to tug at my heart strings; fighting against the odds, heroic sacrifice, honour, duty, love and grief. Many authors use them, only a few get it so right I end up holding my breath at crucial points, crying with joy or heartbreak. It’s a gift and one that Gail Z. Martin has in abundance.
While The Dread marks the end of the two amazing series and these characters for now, I’m glad to say we aren’t yet done with the Winter Kingdoms!