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Probably closer to 3.5 stars It s hard to separate this book from the House War series as a whole But the problems with the series are also problems with this novel.Let s start with the good The characters are fleshed out, interesting and drive me to continue read The setting is deeply intriguing The mythology, the history, the magic It is all so well done The plot, at it s heart, is very interesting the bad West needs a better editor The series is too long The plot is good, but bogged Probably closer to 3.5 stars It s hard to separate this book from the House War series as a whole But the problems with the series are also problems with this novel.Let s start with the good The characters are fleshed out, interesting and drive me to continue read The setting is deeply intriguing The mythology, the history, the magic It is all so well done The plot, at it s heart, is very interesting the bad West needs a better editor The series is too long The plot is good, but bogged down by horrible pacing and superfluous scenes, characters, etc Multiple characters seem to occupy the same roles Jarvin, Haval, Hectore Characters are created where existing characters could suffice Brigade The same scenes are shown from multiple points of view without offering anything new.I will keep reading the books in this world because I love this world and its residents But I continue to be frustrated by West s poor pacing and lack of any serious editing, like pushing back when she says I need to break this up into two books when it easily could ve been one Great Book I loved this book, and the whole series It s a great read, and I highly recommend it The ending was a good surprise. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I don t know what to say..She GOTed it..The whole build up of the lord of hell, just poooooof vanished and the story of the sleepers waking, was thin.Actually the last two books was not very fulfilling, and felt wastedWhatever happens to the lord of hell, the kialli etc Who knows I m seriously disappointed Disjointed, not quiet the expected ending and this is my favorite authors series Loss drives Jewel, loss of family, of Rath, of Amarrais, of Den, the fear of losingkeeps her moving forward This is one of my favorite authors but this book did not bring some things to a conclusion for a final book. I won t bury the lede This may be the end of the series, but not the end of the story The author has publicly stated that there will be another arc called The Burning Crown , likely another six book series, to finish up The manuscript is due this year but there s no release date so if you re scoping out reviews to see whether you should start this series, I d recommend waiting another five years unless you re a fan of extensive character work and unresolved plot You ve been warned Yet, eve I won t bury the lede This may be the end of the series, but not the end of the story The author has publicly stated that there will be another arc called The Burning Crown , likely another six book series, to finish up The manuscript is due this year but there s no release date so if you re scoping out reviews to see whether you should start this series, I d recommend waiting another five years unless you re a fan of extensive character work and unresolved plot You ve been warned Yet, even though the writing is overwrought and the pacing is wildly uneven, there is a compelling story and a fascinating world build here I would not have finished the books if I got nothing out of them There were are lot of parts that I enjoyed, despite my many criticisms However, after such a long and drawn out buildup I had high expectations for the finale I had suspicions I wouldn t get everything I wanted However, I was thoroughly unsatisfied Major spoilers under the tag view spoiler 1 The villain we ve been building towards for SIXTEEN EFFING BOOKS is not confronted here Instead, the Sleepers wake and for me that was an insufficient substitute It s evenso given that the fourth Arianni prince, Meralonne Aphaniel, remains himself and doesn t seem to struggle to do so, despite warnings in this book and the two prior that he would one day become a liability There is some panic and destruction and the city of Averalaan gets a complete architectural makeover, but nobody we ve met except poor Farmer Hanson s wife dies The death of some random bard who is friends with the Wayelyn gets shoved in as an attempt at gravitas, but it s clearly filler.2 Jewel s journey to becoming a goddess at least that s what I understand Sen to be was anticlimactic as well There was zero suspense and honestly, her whole character and arc is one I d expect in a YA series Everyone but the den shakes their heads and murmur that Jewel might not be able to save the city Yet, at no point does she ever make a conscious decision to not save innocent people It was a red herring because there s zero indication that when the time came, Jewel would let a city full of innocents and her den perish so she could be normal Contrary to falling in love with her power, she is afraid of it, but can overcome that fear when absolutely necessary We were also told frequently that Jewel could not become a power if her den abandoned her This was an obvious red herring as well, because throughout the books not one member of her den even comes close to betraying her Therefore, I knew Jewel was going to win and I knew she wouldn t lose anything to do it Yes, she became a demigod instead of mortal and can t just be a normal person with a family, but her family is as safe as they can be and she did get 15 years of normalcy with them I guess I m used to reading much darker fantasy series, because even though that s a sacrifice, it doesn t strike me as the worst possible outcome by far.3 Creating smart, deadly villains who somehow don t manage to kill any of the main characters is a waste, and it undercuts the emotional resonance of the books It s true that Lander, Fisher, Lefty and Duster died earlier in the series But they all died off screen and only Duster ever got POV sections Jay feels guilty about all of them but she only seems to miss Duster None of the rest of the den seem haunted by the deaths at all We just found out in the last book that Carver wishes he hadn t left Duster to die alone, but again it s not a regret that has shadowed his life going forward Teller should have died Sorry not sorry It was heavily foreshadowed that he might not make it I would have even been fine with the deus ex machina of it all if he had been caught outside the forest doing his job No, he cleared the Terafin manse but got stuck looking for his pet cat First of all, if any pet survives the apocalypse it would be a cat Second, why didn t he send one of the several tree people guarding him to get the cat while he raised the alarm Third, if the cat was so dang important why haven t we ever seen it interact with Teller in the series It was mentioned in passing maybe twice that Teller had a cat but we never learned its name, it never interacted with Teller, the Den or Jay s winged cats, and we didn t even know the cat s name until AFTER Jewel saves Teller The whole situation was idiotic But a loss of a character doesn t have to always be a death Instead of the weird thing with Shianne s baby, the Summer King should have been Angel or Terrick The fact that Angel dedicated his life to finding a worthy liege lord, only to have her order him away to save the world, is quality drama Terrick would have been an even better character We see that he bucked Northern tradition in serving Angel s father only, even when Garroc swore his allegiance to someone else He was a mentor to Angel and was reverent about getting his magical ax and seeing dragons, all but hinting he would die happy accompanying Jewel just to have one last adventure How much better for him to finish his life as the Summer King After they traversed the winter lands, his character serves no purpose and once they leave the Winter Queen s court, he doesn t get another line of dialogue the rest of the book The save of Carver also felt fan service y Again, the drama and suspense of him getting lost is that he s the only member of the den to find a romantic connection Maybe instead of escaping outright what price did the Summer Queen pay to appease the wild earth, exactly he becomes a soldier like the other dreamers He can be with Merry for a time, but he ll never age and he ll outlive her Or he ages normally, but can t leave the forest behind the Terafin manse I don t know, we lost him and got him back in such quick succession that his sacrifice felt cheapened 3 The reappearance of Rath was nice, I guess, but it felt like fan service The hand wavy explanation about him being oathbound was insufficient And as one of the few people with the ability to get through Jewel s hard head, it was disappointing that they didn t speakNor did we get to see his reunion conversation with Haval, or Hectore and Andrei If you re going to give me fan service, I want the full spread, not an appetizer 4 We spent the last two books of the Sun Sword going on and on about summer and winter trees, and how the Winter Queen would be trapped and Allaskar would own the hidden ways without them Matriarch Yollana saves a tree at some personal cost and gives it to Diora, who gives it to Kallandras, who gives it to Jewel, who brings it to the Winter Queen And after all that we don t get to see the tree be planted, nor see the Summer Queen come into being If we re going to waste time on set dressing, I d rather see that than get oneflashback from Jewel and her den about how they were so happy being poor children together in the slums They re just ordinary people, WE GET IT I m here for dragons sh t 5 It kind of sucks that the den has been made responsible for keeping Jewel sane Carver, at least, seems to want a life outside of the den and he seems to be the only one who ever dated Finch, Jester, Angel, Jester and Teller come off practically asexual They are fulfilled by being whatever Jewel needs, in addition to their respective jobs It s odd that none of them have any romantic entanglements and even odder that in 15 years, none of them seems to have made any friends outside the den Believe me, I don t want a bunch of forced romantic subplots But romance was acknowledged in Sacred Hunt Sun Sword where as here, Jewel and her den seem like overgrown ten year olds Their lack of socialization could explain the arrested development, as well as the fact that Teller s mother died prostituting to feed him while Finch and Jester were in a pedophilic brothel That only just now occurred to me because as much as every other though they have is explicitly written in the text, any lingering trauma is very much glossed over hide spoiler None of these problems would have loomed quite as large had it not been for the sheer amount of time I spent reading them I read all 16 books published to date between roughly Memorial Day and Fourth of July That s six weeks of my life for an incomplete, lackluster ending In six weeks I could have re read The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, AND Game of Thrones With appropriate editing, we could have easily finished the story we started in The Sacred Hunt, and circled back around to the Sun Sword characters as well After The Sun Sword, I was excited to see how everything would tie back together only to have that whole story ignored in favor of following the most boring, predictable, childish heroine I ve read in an adult novel to date This was a major letdown In February, I had surgery and had to stay home for two weeks to recover During that time, I realized I wantedthan just a story I wanted to read something meaty Something the equivalent of comfort food I wanted a story with characters I was familiar with, who were wrestling with challenges, who have grown throughout their own story So I picked up War, the last maybe book in Michelle West s House War series.Read the full review at Lightspeed Magazine In February, I had surgery and had to stay home for two weeks to recover During that time, I realized I wantedthan just a story I wanted to read something meaty Something the equivalent of comfort food I wanted a story with characters I was familiar with, who were wrestling with challenges, who have grown throughout their own story So I picked up War, the last maybe book in Michelle West s House War series.Read the full review at Lightspeed Magazine I am a big fan of Michelle, and in particular this series of books The Sun Sword books are wonderful, and the promise of revisiting those characters kept me reading through the House War books, which I found somewhat of a long haul I thought it was a bit too focused on inner dialogue, in particular this last book, War.While I like to get into the heads of the characters, the time between decisions and actions could be pages, and involve multiple discussions I found the pacing very slow, and w I am a big fan of Michelle, and in particular this series of books The Sun Sword books are wonderful, and the promise of revisiting those characters kept me reading through the House War books, which I found somewhat of a long haul I thought it was a bit too focused on inner dialogue, in particular this last book, War.While I like to get into the heads of the characters, the time between decisions and actions could be pages, and involve multiple discussions I found the pacing very slow, and while I love cats, even they became repetitive The fault may be with me, as sometime I just need to have things spelled out, rather than try and work my way through a convoluted inner struggle that should help me understand the character better Mostly I just want to move on to see where the story is going.At any rate, powerful allies have now been created in Averalaan, and the stage is set I am looking forward to the next books, and a return of some favourite characters &FREE EPUB ⇯ War ⇭ The eighth and final book in the epic fantasy House War series closes this chapter in a beloved world of magic and political intrigue, where new threats are stirring When the Sleepers wake Once, that phrase meant never The Sleepers were a myth, part of a story told to children But in truth, the Sleepers, ancient princes in the court of the Winter Queen, were imprisoned in slumber by the gods themselves in the cold, dark ruins of the ancient city that lies buried beneath the capitol of the Empire And that prison is fraying, at last They are wakingThe gods no longer walk the world There is no power that can stand against the princes when they wake and the city that has been Jewel s home for her entire life will be destroyed when the Sleepers walk There is only one person to whom they owe allegiance, only one chance to halt them before they destroy everything in their ancient rage But that person is the Winter Queen she is not, and has never been mortal Jewel carries the last of the surviving saplings that might usher in a new Summer age but all of the roads that lead to the court of the Queen are closed Jewel ATerafin has faced the Oracle s test She has control of the prophetic powers that she once considered a curse and a burden She will find her way to the Winter Queen, and she will ask or beg the Winter Queen to intervene to save her kind, her House, and everything she loves But she is mortal, and time has never been her friend The demons are waiting to bar her way, bringing battle to the hidden ancient paths on which she must travel To win, she must face the true meaning of the Oracle s test, and risk sanity and life to make the choice that has always lurked at the heart of the firstborn s test And even then, it might be too late sometimes there s nothing you can do to make someone happy what you are describing is grief if a mother lost her child, she would be devastated there would be nothing you could do that would mkae her happy again but then she ll never be happy again she will but not immediately, and never in the same way that she was before the loss grief comes because the love existed without that love, she would feel nothing because it would mean nothing grief is natural and i think, even grievin sometimes there s nothing you can do to make someone happy what you are describing is grief if a mother lost her child, she would be devastated there would be nothing you could do that would mkae her happy again but then she ll never be happy again she will but not immediately, and never in the same way that she was before the loss grief comes because the love existed without that love, she would feel nothing because it would mean nothing grief is natural and i think, even grieving, that grief is better than not loving at all she was and had always been, a child who would stick her own hand into the fire to see if it burned because fire burning other people did not serve as an adequate lesson so many shadows, in this darkness, cast by things that were not actually in the room the forest was relieved when you arrived you weren t no, i am seldom given to feelings of relief they are lies that we tell ourselves in order to function with a modicum of normalcy safety is illusion but if it was illusion, if it was phantasm, it was nonetheless the illusion to which she d dedicated her life and she wasn t the only one what she wanted, for just this moment, was to give over the responsibility of choice to someone she trusted this is what Adam calls the burden of Matriarchs it is the weight of choice when no comfortable choices remain it is the cost of ruling, if one does not rule purely for power this was why men and women of power seemed to be so heartless, so calculating, so lacking in compassion because the decisions had to be made regardless no amount of pain or fear or guilt changed that fact and if pain or guilt changed nothing, it was far better to dispense with them he has faith in you aye, and it s no blessing to have impossible faith laid on a man as a burden i pity you don t bother, your pity is irrelevant what you want, i don t want what you wanted, i never wanted there are other ways you want him to suffer you want him to suffer what you suffered, and i get that but to make him suffer what you suffered, you would have to be as he is what he was, what he is, is not what you have to be its not what you are i was sad to see the series end but it ends WITHOUT addressing the demon god allakasar and his army so it didnt really feel like an end I wasn t entirely sure what to expect with this book as the end of the House War series Because this is so intricately tied with The Sundered, The Sacred Hunt, and The Sun Sword series, I didn t know for sure if this was the LAST, last book, or just the last House War book It doesn t feel like the end of the much larger universe and story arc that ties all those other series together.There is so much that happens in this one book, I m not sure how to unpack it all Many threads that have been I wasn t entirely sure what to expect with this book as the end of the House War series Because this is so intricately tied with The Sundered, The Sacred Hunt, and The Sun Sword series, I didn t know for sure if this was the LAST, last book, or just the last House War book It doesn t feel like the end of the much larger universe and story arc that ties all those other series together.There is so much that happens in this one book, I m not sure how to unpack it all Many threads that have been introduced throughout this series and some of the other connected series get tied up in this book, which was to be expected, but they don t feel completely done There are other, much larger, storyline threads outside of the House War series that are still left unfinished.I wasn t entirely surprised by the end result of Jewel s journey I am a little surprised at the specific events that get her there I was honestly expecting different events or circumstances would be the catalyst that brought about her decision, a kind of emotional upheaval, but these weren t I am by no means disappointed, just it came about differently than I thought, leaving me a little torn about my response to the actual events.There is a conclusion to the storyline about The Sleepers, but I feel like this takes a bit of a backseat to Jewel s story Since she is essentially the focal character in this particular series, that isn t necessarily a bad thing I think I would have liked to have gotten a better glimpse of their interaction with Meralonne, though But that is the problem with any great character in any book, you never feel like you get nearly enough page time with any of them.In typical fashion, I get to the last page and I wasn t ready for it to BE the last page There are still lots of threads left unfinished, even the threads of many of the focal characters in this series There are still so many characters in this series that I m not ready to see the last of This book, even being the end of the House War series, means that I don t have to see the last of them just yet I m hopeful that means we will still getof the specific characters in THIS series, wherever the larger storyline takes us I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review