The final volume in a high fantasy trilogy (The Reluctant Queen, 2017, etc.) set on a continent where all the powers of nature are tied to vicious elemental spirits controlled by queens.
In the previous installment, ruthless, ambitious Queen Merecot of Semo sought to find a place for her excess spirits by conquering Aratay, the country co-ruled by her former schoolmate Queen Daleina. After Merecot’s defeat, Semo is still swarming with too many spirits, whose urge to harm and destroy might tear the country apart. Now, Merecot has kidnapped the children of Aratay’s second queen, the more powerful Queen Naelin, whose grief and fury devastate Aratay before she can get her emotion-fueled magic under control. But Merecot’s plan extends beyond simply taking over Aratay to save Semo. It is a scheme that stretches back to the world’s flawed creation and may forever end the threat the spirits pose to all of Renthia…if Naelin and Daleina agree to participate. It is also a scheme that doesn’t make a lot of sense, because if it succeeds, it seems likely to rob Merecot of the magical power that she loves so much and requires in order to maintain her rule. That issue aside, the book offers a reasonably satisfying resolution to the trilogy while still leaving the door open for new books in Renthia (which, according to the acknowledgments, is exactly what the author plans to write). Perhaps that will also provide opportunities for the more interesting minor characters in the story, such as the sociopathic poisoner Garnah, to take center stage. Other characters, particularly Cajara, a shy young candidate for queen, are never fully developed despite the key roles they play in the plot. But at least Merecot gets exactly what she deserves for her presumption.
On balance, a decent wrap-up.