The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty.
Author: Peter V. Brett
Category: High Fantasy
Publication Date: March 31st, 2015
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Of all the books thus far in The Demon Cycle, The Skull Throne suffers most heavily from Middle Book Syndrome. All of the books thus far have been slow but more than any of the past installments, this one feels like it was setting up for the last book of the series. Still, this is probably the only bad thing that can be said about it.
With Jardir and Arlen MIA, both the greenlanders and the Krasians are trying to figure out where to go from here. Inevera knows by virtue of her hora dice that the man she believes to be the Deliverer of humankind is probably not dead but there are still things that must be dealt with since he is not there so there is a question of who will rule in his stead. For people whose entire culture seems to be based on a prophetic war to save humankind, they don’t seem to give two craps about human life and this theme continues in this installment as nearly everyone here is willing to lie, cheat, and murder their way to the top.
The greenlanders and the Hollowers are fairing better without Arlen since he never set himself up as the focal point of their fight against the corelings. He taught them to stand up for themselves against the night and they continue to do so even without him there beside them. Still, there are many politics at play both of a personal nature for Leesha and Rojer and for the Hollow as a whole.
A major theme of this book and the last one has been a question of the ends justifying the means. Several main characters in this series have made questionable decisions that they justify with their intended goals, be it unifying all humans or whatever. It is really easy to definitively say that something is wrong but something that this book has done is demonstrated what it is like to make the tough calls.
There is only one book left in the series and we are a little concerned about how it will end. Jardir and Arlen have gone off to fight the demons are their home turf while the rest of the characters are engaging in a more “mundane” war for lack of a better term. There was not a whole lot of Jardir and Arlen in the book so it is uncertain how their quest is going but it seems like there are going to be two different climaxes for the last book: one with the demons, and one with the human armies. Here’s to hoping that these two plot lines converge again before everything wraps up. Two separate climaxes may make the final book a little awkward.
I think in a preview review in this series I mentioned the author’s treatment of women in the series and I feel the need to bring it up again. I am constantly impressed with the diversity of personalities that are written in to these books. Leesha is a leader that sometimes “mothers” people a little too much; Inevera is the incredibly sexy yet incredibly deceitful wife of a would-be king (like Lady Macbeth or Gemma from Sons of Anarachy only way more badass); Wonda is the strong type; Renna is a rough backwoods girl that has been through hell and come out strong if very damaged. There is a lot of sex in these books but none of the women feel like they were written as eye candy and nothing more. They are all deep, complicated characters and I appreciate that a lot in a book.
This one contained the intresting stories of our main characters. Honesty I don’t have much to say about that I haven’t said in past reviews of this series. The main characters and present day story is great but many times when we go to flashbacks I get bored and just want to get back to that story.
Overall still a great overall book, and I am excited for the next book!