Most helpful positive review
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Improves with hindsight
on 26 May 2009
I'd read the first eleven books before, so by the time I got round to buying my own copy of this one, I had a fair idea what I was getting. I still read through the existing reviews before deciding which of the holes in my current collection to fill first.
Judging by the reviews, I was expecting there to be a lot of gratuitous lesbian spanking scenes in this volume (which may or may not have encouraged me to buy this one rather than another). As a result, my first reaction on finishing a book full of political intrigues and careful positioning of characters so that their eventual solutions to their immediate problems will set up long-term solutions to other problems down the line, my first reaction was "so where's the gratuitous lesbian spanking?" - if there was any, I missed it completely.
I first discovered the series when book 9 was still fairly new, so, unlike the fans who discovered the series fairly early, I didn't have to endure the waits for books 7, 8 and 9, with the plot inching forward almost imperceptibly every couple of years, with no end in sight. Taken by itself, book 10, half spent establishing what everyone else was doing at the time of the world-changing event that ended book 9, doesn't seem to advance the plot any more than the previous 3-4 books did. Taken in context with book 11, suddenly the slow shifts of book 10 look like the start of the endgame.
Book 11 is the book that convinced me that the end is in sight and book 10 is the book that sets book 11 in motion. I expect that, read with knowledge of the contents of books 12 through 14, it will be even clearer that the ending of book 9 is the turning point where the series entered the final leg.
If you've read through to the end of book 9, then there's no point quitting now. If you've skipped ahead from book 5 or 6, I'd suggest getting books 9 and 11 rather than 10 and 11 - where book 11 solves various problems, book 9 poses several of them, and book 10 provides the transition to keep book 11 from being one deus ex machina after another. Then get book 10 and then get the earlier books you skipped. If you haven't made it at least to the end of book 5, I suggest you try something faster paced - like Lord of the Rings - and come back when you've built up some stamina...