schneefink: picture of Relena looking at the viewer (GW Relena)
[personal profile] schneefink
I enjoyed the first four books mostly because of the worldbuilding. Some character relationships and plot elements were pretty cool, but they weren't my main interest. I really liked the set-up of the world with all the spirits and the hints of what was going on in the background. Fortunately book 5 finally focuses on that, and wow is it dramatic.

First the Shepherdess, with her favorite back, kills the Immortal Empress and steals the stars to create her private paradise. Then the Shepherdess kills the Hunter, holy shit. The poor Hunter! Actually all of the three Powers of Creation were in terrible positions, abandoned by the Creator and under constant attack, five thousand years on their own instead of a few hundred. The Shepherdess had the most responsibility and ability to act, maybe that's why she snapped. According to her she had her disdain for the spirits before she created the humans; we don't know how long ago that was, but Nara was eight hundred years old and we know there were several favorites, so even if the others didn't have an extended lifespan I'd guess at least two thousand years ago.
(We only know the name of the Shepherdess, not of her brothers, I wonder if they even have them or if a name is something the Shepherdess invented for herself because all the spirits she was in constant contact with had them.)

Now that the world has changed so dramatically… What an upheaval. The whole world has just been through a huge trauma – the stars vanishing for a while, the sky breaking open – and now the balance between spirits and humans is completely different. (Almost) All animate and inanimate creatures and objects being awakened spirits, whoa. It'll be a huge adjustment. On top of that the biggest Empire in the world just lost their ruler… Let's hope it works out well.

Many characters in the series were kind of odd to read about because I could never settle on how I felt about them. Many of them I liked in one book and then a lot less in the next.
- Eli Monpress himself is the best example: just when I finally started to like him despite his arrogance and carelessness because he was entertaining, I disliked him again because he risked basically the end of the world by refusing to ask the Shepherdess for help when Nico's seed almost awakened, and that was before we found out why he didn't want to do that. Later when we found out more about that it made a lot more sense and he became more likeable again. He would have made a terrible Shepherd though.
- I never really liked Josef that much, and his plotlines quickly became repetitive. So many swordsmen running around just looking for a great fight! Then he accidentally became king, and even then I didn't like him much: he pretty much had a teenage emo phase and ran away and never grew out of it, at least that's what it read like. Then he does a passable job as an interim king, but can't even be bothered to notify his advisors about his disappearance yet again because who cares. Ugh.
- Nico: poor girl :( I liked her relationships with Josef and Eli, and how she fought for herself against terrible odds, and how she decided to stay with Josef and live even though the Demon of the Dead Mountain showed her how bleak her future would be. I hope she can figure something out.
- Miranda: Lawful Good. Sometimes her anger without thinking first got tiring, but in general I really liked her, and I loved her loyalty to and relationships with her spirits, especially Gin and Mellinor.
- Most of the spirits were great. Gin, Mellinor (very happy he survived), Illir (the broker system is genius), the Heart of War and the Shaper Mountain, and I was upset when Gredit died.
- Etmon Banage and Sara: two opposite sides of a coin, one with an extremely strict moral code and one with a very flexible one. I didn't always like Banage much, and Sara was a terrible person and I'm not sure how I feel about her as a character, but it was neat as a contrast. At least Sara made a passable villain, several of them (the Duke of Gaol, Sted, Adela, even Nara) were not that interesting. Though Sara's ending seemed a bit lacking to me.

I read the series in less than a week because I always wanted to know what happened next. I don't think it's one I'll reread (except maybe the last one because I have some vague story ideas), but I enjoyed it.
(Edit: Anyone interested in beta-ing a short post-canon Weaver&Hunter fic?)

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