I just spent WEEKS re-reading the entire Seven Realms series, then re-reading the first three books of the Shattered Realms series—all so I could read Deathcaster with the other books super fresh in my mind. Imagine my disappointment when after all that, Deathcaster ended up being my least favourite book out of all eight.
Series: Shattered Realms #4
Published by: HarperTeen on March 5, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult
Warrior Alyssa ana’Raisa would do anything to protect her home, the Fells, and her legacy, the Gray Wolf line. But as a prisoner of Empress Celestine, Lyss is forced to turn her fearsome talents as an army commander against her beloved homeland. Refusal would swiftly lead to her death, and her death would end the Gray Wolf line.
In Lyss’s absence, Fellsmarch Castle swarms with intrigue, deception, and a primordial threat. Destin Karn, a southern spymaster with a hidden agenda of his own, might be the queendom’s only hope of defeating the forces aligned against the Seven Realms . . . as well as the enemies within the castle.
I didn’t hate Deathcaster, but it was my least favourite book in the entire Shattered Realms (and Seven Realms) series. And that’s a pretty shitty way to end a series. You want the last book to be the best—not the worst!
At 656 pages, this was a pretty massive book. At times it felt a little too long, but I didn’t mind too much until later. My issue with it is that this book (and really the whole series) built and built and built; it felt like it was all leading up to pretty intense stuff… But then it just ended.
It’s hard to say exactly how that worked without spoilers, but I’ll try. As just one example, from the beginning, we’re led to believe that there’s a traitor somewhere. All these little clues are dropped and it becomes a bigger and bigger deal… Then suddenly the traitor is discovered and wrapped up very cleanly pretty much in one single page. It’s like there was all this build up of tension and danger, just to find out it was actually pretty easy to deal with that person. It was anti-climactic.
The whole series had a lot of different pieces—different plot lines, different dangers, etc. As the series went on, it’s almost like the author suddenly thought, “Oh yeah, I forgot about that plot line… Let’s quickly get that resolved.” Things that I thought were going to be a big deal just ended, and I was surprised that they never resurfaced. View Spoiler » [One character gets FERAKIN’ POSSESSED by some several-hundred-year-old magical dude (Lord Darian). When we finally figure out he’s been possessed all this time, he just quickly dies and that’s it. I kept thinking surely that wasn’t the end of this possession plot line. Surely this mythical guy is going to play a big role in the story? Nope. Literally in the span of a single chapter we get this pretty big bomb dropped that he’s possessed, then he neatly gets killed off and that’s the end of it. I kept thinking this plot line would come back, because surely after all that it wasn’t just over… but it was. « Hide Spoiler]
Additionally, I thought this whole book would be about Empress Celestine and that entire backstory. After all these books we still knew so little about her. But when that finally came to light, we were just given essentially a one-paragraph overview and that was it. Again: all this build up, just to be brief and anti-climactic. I do not feel like I walked away with a serious understanding of the “Nazari bloodline”. In fact, I just have more questions.
It also never really felt like our characters were in serious danger or overpowered. They achieve everything easily. By the end, I had major feelings of, “That was it? It was that easy? We’re really done here?” There were no epic battles or feelings of intense danger / desperation. It was just…. over.
Even the final wrap-up of Alyssa was just brief and disappointing.
It definitely makes me sad because I enjoyed all the other books. But the climax we were building towards never happened. This book was scattered, unfocused, and quickly tried to tie up loose ends, but it was done in a way that as just disappointing and unfulfilling. It makes me feel like all those weeks I spent re-reading were just wasted. *sigh*