Reading this book is a bit like living on a diet of chocolate, satisfying for a short period of time, but ultimately full of empty calories. `Blackveil' is just like that, it's a fun read, but you're ultimately left with the sense of the narrative having gotten no further forward than when it began. (Indeed, by page 230 the story had not been moved on with virtually nothing having happened, however, at over 700 pages long there's still plenty of wriggle room!) Sadly this is becoming the watchword for this series.
It all started off reasonably well. There was a good concept, a compelling protagonist etc. etc. However, it became clear at book 3 (`High King's Tomb') that things were not as they should be. The book itself was interminably long with very little editing having taken place and the story having only been slightly moved forward. This from a series which could (indeed should) have ended at book 3 had it had a decent editor. Though the editing is only part of the problem. From book 3 onwards it has become apparent that Britain does not appear to have a game plan as to how the narrative will pan out (or if she does, it is going to be on an epic scale). Like Robert Jordan, with his `Wheel of Time' series, she has tried to add new scenarios and characters to the mix in order to find a solution. Unlike Jordan, however, there is neither the skill nor the grand vision to make this work in the longer term.
Some of the best fantasy novels have been those in which the author has a narrative thread which they wish to follow and the ability to follow this thread without becoming bogged down in detail. Tolkien's `The Lord of the Rings' is a good example - a single book split into 3 distinct novels (technically it is not a trilogy but a single book!) which retains a sense of pace, vision and narrative with a clear sense of where it will end. Tolkien himself was an excellent writer and editor, but he also lived in a age when editing still remained a living skill.
I will continue to read Britain's novels, in part because they are engagingly (if not well) written and because they contain a compelling (if badly thought through) narrative thread. My hope is, however, that she will bring the series to a close, not least so that we can get some sense of closure - there is only so far that an idea can be stretched before it either warps or breaks. As both novels 3 & 4 are both 700+ pages long there is also only so much the reader can bear.