Fans of Finnikin of the Rock (2010) and Froi of the Exiles (2012) will find deep satisfaction in this finale to the Lumatere Chronicles. This trilogy, taken as a whole, is stronger than each of its distinct parts.
Marchetta, known for her mastery of character, shows herself here to have conquered the intricacies of plot, worldbuilding and theme. All three books demonstrate both the heights and depths of human nature. If the first two books depict two young men with depth and reality, this third applauds the growth and courage of Princess (or Queen, depending on who’s talking) Quintana—who is not immediately likable but becomes more admirable as the narrative progresses. Omniscient narration alternates three major stories: of Froi, who searches for Quintana in Charyn, of the residents of Lumatere, and of Quintana, who is in hiding to protect the life of her child. Peppering the tale are details of Quintana's thoughts and longings, which broaden understanding of her personality. A multitude of plot twists and surprises bring together events that seemed complete in the first two books and emphasize the importance of Quintana's story.
Readers will have a hard time forgetting the complex, deeply human characters that populate this multifaceted narrative. (Fantasy. 14 & up)