A Series Review -Books Three and Four
The Shattered Realms by Cinda Williams Chima
Yesterday’s post was all about the first two books. If you have not read the first two books, but are thinking of adding them to your TBR and you don’t want any spoilers then I suggest you stop reading now. I won’t spoil these two books, but there may be spoilers for the first two.
The next two books are different from the first two. We have now been introduced to all of the main players and are following all of them. This makes for a lot of switching points of view, but that is okay. There is lots to keep track of though, because life, even in books, is complicated.
This book starts off in the past. We get Evan Strangward’s origin story and his relationship with Destin Karn. I loved this part of the story. And even though I was anxious to get back to the main plot and where book two left off this segue was necessary and made me like and understand both Evan and Destin better.
Once we get back to where book two left off, things just get more interesting. The focus is still on Evan and his mage powers, he is a storm mage, which is what makes him such a good pirate. But as the story progresses, and the true enemy of everyone, Empress Celestine, becomes more powerful and threatens all of the realms, Evan’s story gets caught up with the other characters.
Evan ended up being a good guy, which I never would have guessed after the first book. He is a pirate, but he also is a fair and just pirate. He treats his people well and does right by them. He also is fiercely loyal to Destin and will do anything to be reunited with him eventually. Evan tries to warn everyone about how dangerous Celestine is, but it mostly falls on deaf ears, until she attacks and captures Lyss. Evan then finds allies with the Queen and Ash. No one really trusts him though, which gets them into trouble in the long run.
Breon is also captured by the Empress, and he sort of fell off the map. We see him at times, when Lyss encounters him, but he is lost to the leaf (a drug) and doesn’t add much to the plot. Lyss on the other hand meets up with Jenna and her dragon Cas. They form a bond and work together to bring down the Empress. Lyss is given some very hard choices in this book, but she stays strong through out and hopes that it will all work out all right.
Ash is still my favorite character, and he also has some hard choices, especially when he is betrayed and he discovers that there are enemies within the court trying to kill his mother, the Queen. Hal makes it back home after escaping from Lyss and finds he has his own struggles and makes some unexpected allies in Destin and Lila.
The plot of this book is very complex with lots of moving parts. There is conspiracy in both courts, a civil war and the threat from the Empress. It was often a bit confusing and I found myself backtracking a few times. But it was still really good. Fast paced and hard to put down. I was glad I waited to read this one, as I wanted to pick up the final book as soon as I was done.
Compared to the other books this one was a little disappointing. Even though it was the longest of the four, and the final book, there were still a lot of questions at the end. But I am going to start with what I liked about the book.
My favorite thing about this book were the baby dragons. Although I love Cas, Jenna’s dragon companion, the baby dragons they rescue were by far my favorites. They were so cute, and behaved just like I would think baby dragons would behave. They also become important to the story, which was wonderful.
Destin Karn really impressed me in this book. I began to like him more in the last book, but he really came into his own in this one. Some of his methods were still questionable, but he was a great help to Lyss and her Queendom, even though he technically worked for the other side.
Lila also comes into her own in this book. She begins to accept who she is and her possible role in the world. I would have liked a bit more information at the end of the book about what happens with her, but still it was good to see her finally have a little bit of the spotlight in this book.
The overall plot was very well done, even with all of the twists and turns and conspiracies, it was a fun read. The ending was solid, it turned out pretty much the way I thought it would, and I was glad that everyone survived for the most part.
There were only some very minor things that bothered me about the plot though. It mostly had to do with the conspiracies in the Fells and who was behind all of the killings in Lyss’s family. I still have questions. One of the people that was involved I wasn’t surprised at, but his motivation was a bit puzzling. It also was not totally well explained who was ultimately behind it all. The other person was a bit of a surprise and I’m not sure it worked for me. I won’t say much more because I don’t want to give stuff away, but I want more info about it.
The other thing I wanted to know more about was Empress Celestine. I was sort of hoping we would get more information about her and why she wanted Evan, Breon and Jenna. Some of it was explained, but only superficially. I needed more from that story line as well. From what little we are told you get a basic understanding of her but not enough. She is brutal and nasty, but I want to know about her upbringing so I can understand her better.
Overall though this was a thoroughly wonderful ending to a great series. I kind of feel like my reviews haven’t revealed how good these books really are. So let me end with these thoughts:
*If you love high fantasy with an interesting magical system, a rich well developed world with its own language and mythology, then you really need to look into the Seven realms series and this one. They are the standard to which I hold all other fantasy books too.
*The author writes beautifully and you feel fully immersed in these worlds that she has created.
*If high fantasy isn’t your thing, check out her urban fantasy series, The Heir Chronicles. Even though these books are set in our world, there is still a rich fantasy world with magic unlike anything else.