3 out of 5 stars.
Spoilers for the first two.
Mercedes Lackey is one of my go-to authors, especially when I am feeling depressed. She builds great worlds and can always be counted on for a happy ending. I usually take to her books right away, but this series is starting to wear on me a bit.
My biggest quarrel with this book is that, too often, things end too well for the characters. They come up with answers to problems that suit everyone, they are able to make good use of all of their resources and are able to save people just in time. It is getting to the point where it is a bit too syrupy sweet, even for me. Everything ties up in the end a little too neatly and the author always points out that it works so neatly. The characters don’t have enough flaws and were starting to make me wish for more relatable narrators.
This book is also REALLY feminist, but in a very heavy handed way. Instead of trying to understand why people might be sexist and recommending ways to fix it, she portrays anyone who is sexist as a drooling neanderthal. While that is satisfying at the outset, it makes a very unsatisfying conflict. Because the villains are so pigheaded, all you can do is steamroll over them, which is not usually something you can do in real life. It is the type of fairy tale wish fulfillment that is good in small doses, but given how prolific this author is, I am starting to wish her writing style would evolve a bit more.
It is a good addition to the series though. Throughout the other two books, the conflicts get more serious and high-stakes and this one continues that trend. Character’s relationships change, but the characters themselves don’t. The world is the same one that has been built up over 10+ books.
This is a book that is strongly Mercedes Lackey. If you want something innovative from her, this is not it, but it is a comforting package of what we have been lead to expect from her.