★★★ @NetGalley @msagara #Grave
The conclusion to Emma and Nathan's love is a stark contrast to Reyna and Eric's love. This book took me five years to finally finish. When I read the first book, I was intrigued. I am a huge fan of Ms. Sagara. I like how her stories force me out of my comfort zone. Her stories are complex and not light reading. This trilogy didn't pull me in as much and I'm not quite sure why.
I have picked this book up many times in the last five years. My goal for 2021 is to complete all my outstanding books from book review sites. I am down to two and this is one of them. Over the last few months, I picked this book up where I left off, got confused, and started over again from the beginning. Finally, I spent a week reading a little bit of this every day to get through it. At times this story dragged. Other times, this story moved a bit quickly. What I realize is that this book is a highly visual book. The scenes are described and I need to picture everything in my head in order for me to understand what is going on. Especially the citadel which is described so well by Ms. Sagara.
I finally realized this story is about lost love and never getting over the grief. This book is not a happily ever after book. It's a book about life and death - specifically what happens when a powerful young girl loses the one thing in her life that makes everything bearable. Is it not said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Ms. Sagara created a trilogy on this concept. I'm impressed. I still ended up rating this a 3 star because it was so difficult for me to get through it. The concepts and the conflicts in this book are amazing. I also noticed that words matter. At least for Ms. Sagara. I wonder if she sees words and senses them with other senses than everyone else. I say this because one of the critical keys to this story and for Emma to win against the Queen of the Dead is by using words. This reminds me of her Chronicles of Elantra series. Words there also take physical shape and have a much deeper meaning.
Whilst both series say the words are written in a dead language or a complex old language, for some reason, every time I visualize the words coming to life, they are written in traditional Chinese characters in calligraphy form. It works for me. *Shrug* This sci-fi fantasy needs to be read in the order the books were written. This can not be read as a standalone. Recommended for readers who enjoy something different with a bittersweet ending filled with harsh life lessons.
*provided by NetGalley