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Fast paced, imaginative, excellent characterisation
on 9 August 2013
In order to get the most out of these books, it really is important to read the series in order. Caina's character has grown immensely, and while she still grieves that Maglarion's experiments have left her unable to bear children, that fact is not being rammed down the reader's throat as often or as blatantly as it was in previous books. She has settled down with Corvalis, still playing roles on behalf of the Ghosts, but also enjoying being in love with each other - to the extent that Caina is beginning to think about her long-term future, and whether she should remain a nightfighter.
At the same time as the Ghosts are trying to ensure the assassins sent to dispose of the Padishah's Ambassador ( a bright but most unprepossessing individual) are unsuccessful in their attempts to restart the war, they are also busy with another mystery involving murder, a pregnant woman, a gladiator father, and a nasty potential necromancer. Then, the action really takes off, as does the author's imagination, and we move slickly from one breath-taking event to another, and on to a most amazing climax. Even the Epilogue is extremely satisfying, and I hope we see more of Tanzir and Muravin in the future: their characters are too good to lose entirely. It's good to see some of the other Ghosts from previous books, and I have to confess I'm also beginning to develop a strange sympathy, if not affection, for Jadriga!
As another reviewer has said, there are fewer errors in this book, although I suspect any proof-reading has been left to a spell-check, since we still get 'to' for 'two'; 'grab' for 'garb'; 'this' for 'his'; 'titling' for 'tilting'; 'father' for 'farther', etc. There are also a few straightforward errors, like missing or wrong words 'all [the] while drinking fine coffee'; 'they knew how to move with stealth, and might be unable [able] to take them unawares'. While the editing could be better, it's a great improvement on earlier books, and, although annoying, the mistakes can be easily ignored simply because of the quality of the story - although I still wish the writer would stop saying that Caina DID a curtsy!