This is the third and final book of the trilogy, some spoilers for the previous books could be present.
Wynter, Razi, and Christopher are traveling with the Merron warriors, who are on their diplomatic mission to find the Rebel prince. They have all started to come to terms with the happenings of The Crowded Shadows. In trying to find the Rebel Prince they try different rendezvous points with no avail. Finally, they come across Alberon's military men and make it to camp. After some quick work with words Razi and Wynter make it to see Alberon. What they learn of his plans surprise and astound them. Could they work? Would they even want them to work? With everything that has happened between Prince Alberon and his father King Jonathan, could they repair the damage done to the kingdom? Razi and Wynter have the fate of the kingdom laying in their hands.
This was a wonderful read for me. One I barreled quickly through, not wanting to put the book down. I have enjoyed these characters and the world here since the first book. This was a wonderful end to an amazing trilogy. I'm still a little sad to see it end, but in this book all the remaining questions are answered and wraps up gracefully. And yes, we learn about the Bloody Machine talked about in the first book. We also get to see more of the Merron ways, which I grew to love in The Crowded Shadows.
The characters have grown in strength through these books. Especially Wynter. Wynter has grown into a wise and brave young woman. Not that she wasn't brave in the beginning, but she has learned much on her path and accepted a lot. She has found love and hate in these woods and how to express both. We get to meet one of Wyn's old friends here, one of the talking cats she had taken care of when at the castle before her and her father went North. And we learn more of Christopher and his hidden secret, and how Wyn deals with it. Razi is the constant rock and voice of reason, as always, but there is something that will shake his world as well. Then, we finally get to meet the Rebel Prince Alberon.
Hmmm, yes. Alberon. I have to say when we first meet Alberon I had wondered of his state of mind. He seemed as he could be a little off from all the war and bloodshed he has seen at such a young age. But as the book went on I learned of why the Prince is the way he is and that he is aware of it. But, he has to be strong and almost cold as he is the heir to the throne... or so he believes.
The story starts right in the thick of the woods with trouble all around. We get the feel of the danger in the woods still. Even when in the camp there is always danger lurking around. And even the different agents from different kingdoms and areas of this world there is friction between them.
I also enjoyed the different degrees and angles in which we see danger coming at the main characters. All the characters are tested to their limits. We even get to see at the end, the characters that survive, a close future to see what has come of them.
Lovely ending to a wonderful trilogy. I'm proud to say this is one that will stay on the shelves for years to come and I will revisit again and again. I will be keeping my eye out for any future work by Celine Kiernan.