My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jaric endures the Cycle of Fire with aid from Taen Dreamweaver. But their reunion is short-lived as Maelgrim continues to ravage & terrorize the lands near Shadowfane. The pair travel to free Anskiere & rally the remaining human leaders to face the demon forces. With the offensive spearheaded by the Kielmark, the king of pirates, the humans victory is dearly bought & the trio of conjurers defeat Maelgrim. Jaric & the Kielmark make a desperate bid to infiltrate Shadowfane & raze the fortress to the ground. They too succeed after a grim struggle, but Jaric’s own final test to master his talents is only the beginning of a new era for the remaining humans & their future amid the stars.
So, as I may have mentioned previously, I read this series as a way to puzzle out what might be in store in The Wars of Light and Shadow. I cannot say that I was too successful; The Cycle of Fire is assuredly a microcosm of the same themes & elements as the other series but it stands on its own. If anything, this series has given me a better appreciation for the longer, more dense Wars because there were many times I wanted to go more in depth but had to settle for the story I was given.
I was somewhat disappointed that we didn’t get more of Maelgrim/Emien’s perspective, since the other two books seemed to explore Taen’s & Jaric’s perspectives pretty thoroughly. But the horrors that Maelgrim conjure were plenty to take in, so I can’t fault the author too much for not wanting to get too deep into his mind. The bittersweet ending of Jaric’s trials & reunion with Taen & Anskiere kept reminding me of all Arithon has gone through in the Wars series & made me yearn for the next book. So, I guess thank you for making my book jones even more unbearable? 🙂