You know those fantasy series that raise a myriad issues, mysteries, and questions – and then can’t be bothered to resolve most of them? This isn’t one of those. McKillip meticulously ties of all the loose ends, and does with shocking surprises, deep emotion, and beautiful language.
The one real criticism I have of the book is that it has too many false endings – so many climaxes that it becomes a little exhausting. And, of course, there’s yet another travelogue through the countries and rulers. And both Morgon and Raederle get a little too Thomas Covenant in their refusal to address key issues for no good reason. And there are one or two points that aren’t entirely consistent. So there are several things to criticize. However, they all fade beside the impact of a great story told very, very well. This is a great series, and this is a great conclusion. It had a great impact on me when I read it as a kid, and it still has a strong impact on me as an adult, even knowing the answers to everything already.
While not everything about the series holds up as well as I remembered, most of it does. This is the series that established McKillip as a major force in fantasy, and deservedly so. If you like fantasy and you like beautiful prose, you should read this.