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A tad disappointing.
on 20 November 2002
This is the fourth and final book in The Artefacts of Power tetralogy (following Aurian, Harp of Winds and The Sword of Flame).
After failing to make the terrible sacrifice that would have allowed her to claim the Sword of Flame, Aurian and some of her friends find themselves trapped in a time breach. They reappear some eight years later, only to discover nothing but chaos and destruction.
Indeed, not only did her failure release the evil-minded Phaerie who, wasting no time, immediately started ransacking Nexis and raping its inhabitants, sowing terror upon the city, but in the meantime Eliseth has also stolen the Cauldron of Rebirth from Miathan and is about to take the last steps that will finally allow her to quench her thirst for absolute power. Aurian has to stop her at any cost if she wants to save the world and the people she loves. Mustering her troops, she embarks on yet another journey to the Southern Kingdoms, towards the final confrontation.
Even though I was glad to read more about loveable characters such as Grince the young thief, Chiamh the Xandim Windeye or Shia the great cat, I was quite disappointed by Anvar's almost complete absence from this volume, for he was my favourite. The idea of time travel was quite unexpected too, and even though it was interesting to find out what Hargorn and Hebba, or Zanna, Dulsina and the Nightrunners had become in the eight years that had passed, this device didn't serve any other useful purpose and might have been more thouroughly explored, used to more enriching ends.
Although I can say I liked Dhiammara as a whole, I also found this volume somewhat messy and rather grim. Too many things happen and it seems that too many subplots have to be solved. And a fairly high number of people die in bloodshed too. Most of all, I found it was a tad insipid and lacked the suspenseful action of Harp of Winds or The Sword of Flame, and finally the end wasn't very spectacular either. Shame, it looked so promising...