it would be wonderful if Canavan has saved the best book in this trilogy as the last. the first two were entertaining--but half the time I spent praising how she didn't just copy all the other Fantasy series I've sampled in terms of huge scenarios and epic battles...and the other times, I did start to wish the stakes were higher, the action scenes more frequent, and the cliffhangers as intense as elsewhere. but, there's something about the characters that has brought me this far--couldn't just stop now--and though quiet at times, the novels can very suddenly come alive. I will not return to this author in the near future, but the decks will be cleared for a new trilogy--someone named Mark Lawrence waits in the shadows--and overall, the characters, the cultures, and the espionage elements, have all been fun. I think this will be a strong finale...I hope so!