Shadow's End is one of those rare books that could either be a one star or a five star. One star because I was so sad to see the end of it
it made me want to drown myself in chocolate until I felt better
and five stars because it had to be pretty good to mess with my feels like that.
This series has been a roller coaster ride and I'm one of those poor saps who is torn between the need to sit down and take a deep breath and the desire to jump around screaming, "Let's go again! Let's go again!"
Shadow's End is more of a character-driven story than a story-driven one and to be perfectly honest, the trilogy is one of the best I've read in that department. Looking back at the first two books, it's actually pretty amazing to see how much Catwin and Miriel have grown. Shadowborn introduced them as young girls of vastly different heritages thrown together to be used as pawns in an ongoing political struggle and Shadow's End...er, ends (no pun intended) with them rising as two strong women ready to raise a rebellion in the very courts they once played in.
Everything contributing to their development from their many, many disagreements to the first blush of teenage awkwardness and insecurity was incredibly well-executed. It's really interesting, seeing how their lives have shaped their regard for one another: Catwin feeling jealous of Miriel because of her beauty and the way she just seemed naturally attract everyone's love and adoration, while Miriel feels useless when it comes to saving their hides whenever a scary assassin comes around. The minor characters aren't neglected too (as seems to be the case with most novels); every one of them seems to have their own agenda, their own hopes, dreams and fears. It always seemed as if Roine had as much story to tell as Miriel, while the Duke and Temar's relationship seemed as complex as Catwin and Miriel's. Speaking of Temar...
I just love his relationship with Catwin! There aren't many stories that pull off such a beautiful-but-tragic, our-love-can-never-be type of romance but this trilogy does it with flair. Katson manages to weave just the perfect amount of anguish in their story without making either of them sound like an emo teenager whose parents refused to buy him an iPhone, and there was just enough sexual tension without being sappy.
*coughs* Well, anyway.
The story picks up immediately where the second book leaves off: with Catwin and Miriel trying to raise a rebellion. As I said earlier, the book is more character-driven than plot-driven but that didn't mean that the author neglected the plot. Katson was able to tie together all the plot points from the first two books, everything from Catwin's prophecy to the mystery of Temar's past to the ongoing rebellion. Shadow's End is an extremely satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.
In fact my only complaint about the book, the one that makes me so at odds with how I feel about Shadow's End is the ending.
Thanks to Moira Katson for providing a free copy of this wonderful trilogy in exchange for a review.