A slambang finale to a refreshingly different fantasy trilogy.
Petra Kronos is determined to free her father from his transformation into one of Prince Rodolfo's ghastly Gray Men. But as she searches for a magical cure, first in the hidden Roma homeland and then back in her native Bohemia, she is caught up in the greater European intrigues of kingdoms, spies and rebellions. Despite the high stakes and epic scope, peppered with real Renaissance personages and events, the focus is firmly upon Petra and her friends and the choices each is forced to make. The narrative jumps between viewpoint characters, sometimes to jarring effect, but most often stays with Petra (who learns to temper her hotheaded stubbornness to meet overwhelming challenges) and the Roma trickster Neel (who is forced to grow up beneath the weight of unexpected responsibility). Breakneck pacing is paired with practical, charmingly unsentimental prose, which renders the rare flashes of dry wit and the understated romantic subplot all the more effective. Short, action-packed chapters lead to a climax of heroic courage, violent horror and tragic sacrifice, and an epilogue perfectly admixes restrained melancholy and tender hope.
Thrilling, heartrending and unexpectedly sweet; Petra's adventures could not have had a more satisfying conclusion. (Fantasy. 11-15)