'Of Truth and Beasts' is the finale in the sequel Noble Dead series that focuses upon the secondary characters Wynn and Chane. It's been a decent ride for two novels, but this one is kind of a trudge to get through.
In the aftermath of the tragedies in the previous novel, Wynn is all but a pariah at the Sage's Guild for her role in those events as well as her dogged persistence about the importance of scrolls she brought back from the frozen citadel in the north. A victim of their political machinations, she's sent on a fool's errand to a distant elven settlement to keep her out of the way but assistance arrives from an unexpected quarter to spur the group forward in the quest to find Baalale Seatt, a forgotten dwarven stronghold. In its depths Wynn hopes to locate the Orb of Spirit- one of the five Orbs belonging to the Beloved, the Ancient Enemy in the Lost War ages ago, and a possible key to preventing its return.
Accompanying her as always is Shade, her majay-hi escort; Chane- her determined vampire guardian seeking to protect her from everything, even herself- and Ore-Locks the dwarven Stonewalker, who remains steadfast in his mission to redeem the name of his disgraced ancestor. Their path is trailed by allies and enemies alike- notably Chuillyon the elven sage, who seems to serve many masters; Domin Ghassan il' Sanke- Wynn's friend and surrogate mentor from the Guild; and Sau'ilahk the wraith, who serves the Beloved. But in the depths of Baalale Seatt, more than lost knowledge awaits them all. Much, much more.
The strongest part of the Noble Dead series is the weakest in these books. The intricacy of the multiple story threads and minutiae that served so well when we first met Magiere and Leesil drag down Wynn and Chane. There's too much description in these books; arguably appropriate for dealing with a Sage's Guild, but most of it can be skimmed over and is plain boring. Who knew crossing a room could entail so much angst and adverbs? Too many times there was stuff that could've been hand-waved with exposition but instead we got the excruciating details.
The motives of the majay-hi as a whole are revealed to a point, but Shade's behavior remains annoying and inconsistent, growling at everyone and constantly trying to impede every step of the journey. Knowing what's at stake both Shade and Chane should be much more cooperative at this point. Their constant protests and interference is boring, repetitive and fills up pages.
The climactic sequence in Baalale Seatt is interesting but jarring; it's foreshadowed at the beginning of the book but still kinda comes out of left field. But typical of these stories, it's a very bittersweet resolution and appropriately so. And the long-awaited appearance of some old friends in the final pages feels forced and strained- a very awkward transition to lead into the next series.
'Of Truth and Beasts' is both a resolution and a transition novel. As we've come to expect from the series one answer leads to five questions and several story threads are, as always, left dangling to be picked up in the next book. Let's just hope it involves a little more exposition.