The ending brought tears to my eyes. The narrative kept us all (me and my 6- and 4-year-old) going for months. That’s all good.
I did think the series had trouble deciding whether it was a whimsical bedtime story constructed on the fly (the first two books or so) or a “serious” story with symbolism and character depth (the last two books or so). And at a few key times the attempted depth wasn’t convincing, especially when Janner (in a moment meant to be like Orual’s discovery of her own depravity in Till We Have Faces) comes to see his own selfishness. It just wasn’t right; Janner wasn’t selfish. He was a pretty ideal Throne Warden, protecting his brother even when he was frustrated—and protecting him till the end.
But four stars still means “really liked it.” There were several flashes of depth that really struck me, like when Janner had to give up his desire to study books in order to protect his brother by joining the Durgan Guild. There were also some beautiful turns of phrase I had to stop and highlighted (which fascinated my children, who wanted to do it, too):
There’s a powerful magic in songs, you know. They can aim the heart, point it at what matters.
Yeah. I agree.
We all forget from time to time, and so we need each other to tell us our stories. Sometimes a story is the only way back from the darkness.
Trails threaded through the white flowers where Leeli and Nia had walked, as if their footsteps had begun to write a new story into the island’s book.
When you run out of hope, everything is backwards. Your heart wants the opposite of what it needs.
And nice chapter title: “The Former Fangs Have Passed Away.”
Definitely a good read for parents and kids.