Not perfect, but a good conclusion to a fine series,
This review is from: Full Circle: The Castings trilogy: Book Three (Paperback)
Having read the previous reviews of Full Circle, I can understand their reservations about the final part of the Castings trilogy. At the same time, I still think it stands well above most other recent fantasy, so for me a five-star rating is justified.
The problems with Full Circle don't really arise until the final 100 pages. Until then, the novel is well up to the standard of its predecessors. Saker's genocidal campaign continues, while those with the power to stop him still have their doubts about whether they should. Characterisation is as strong as ever, with more narrative space given to a wider cast of characters including Leof and Martine. The first two thirds of the novel are as satisfying as Blood Ties and Deep Water.
It's in the big finale that things start to go wrong. There's simply too much happening in too few pages, with some characters suddenly seeming to lose all of their previous agendas and resources (Thegan in particular). It isn't that there's anything wrong with the way that the story is resolved, and there are elements of it that are deeply moving. It just feels as if everything is happening too quickly. I don't know whether Freeman had to rush this to meet a publisher's deadline, but that's the way it feels in places. There's also an unfortunate echo of the conclusion to Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn, which one imagines is not the kind of comparison that Freeman was going for.
I've given Full Circle five stars because much of it is excellent and because, despite its faults, it's still among the best fantasy of recent years. I'd recommend the Castings trilogy as essential reading and as something genuinely new and distinctive in the fantasy genre. I just wish that Full Circle was about 50 pages longer.