Well, I’m thrilled to be able to report that The Agartes Epilogues is a trilogy that delivers on its promise, and does so in an exciting and emotionally satisfying way.
The characters, now fully established, have chemistry that at this point has become easy and familiar to the reader. Enosh and Sapphire continue to delight, even as they disdain and irritate one another. Sume has reached a point in her development where she has transformed from a level-headed but unassertive young woman to a sure-footed quick thinking protagonist who doesn’t suffer fools gladly (well, except perhaps Enosh). Her strength in the face of adversity (and even, at times, tragedy) remains an anchor point and highlight of the entire story. Rosha has grown to be a clever and precocious child with a vocabulary that is perhaps a little too developed, but the naivete that Villoso imbues her with keeps her believable. Fans of Robin Hobb will find much to enjoy here – while some characters are much as they always were despite having learned a few hard lessons, others have been shaped over the course of the series into something almost entirely new. Minor players are given some truly excellent dialogue and find development via their interactions with the likes of Kefier and Sume.
The pacing was overall nicely done – this entry was more action heavy than the previous two, but we are given plenty of breathing room and even time for a little melodrama. Fair warning for those who disdain love triangles, because the triangle featured in Sapphire’s Flight is fairly central to the story. Personally I think it was believably written and managed to avoid becoming tedious, which is all I ask. Villoso has stated in numerous interviews that she likes writing fantasy soap operas, and if that sounds like something that might be up your alley I highly recommend this one. It’s got everything but an amnesiac and an evil twin, and I do mean that as a compliment.
Observant readers will most definitely find their attentions are rewarded here. I have mentioned this in my reviews for the previous entries, but it bears repeating – I cannot imagine the amount of work that went into plotting out this novel. Seeds that were planted two books ago start suddenly sprouting to fruition and it just doesn’t stop. It’s a rollercoaster that peaks with a genuinely excellent epic battle scene – I’m typically not someone who loves a fight scene, preferring introspection and character development above all else, but the sense of chaos and fear that jumped off the page made this one memorable.
My only criticism lies in some mild editing issues – there were some grammatical errors and phrasing that was slightly off here and there that I found noticeably different from the previous two books, which were cleaner in this respect. It is, however, a minor and admittedly petty gripe.
This is the book that Villoso was waiting to write, and it was well worth the wait. If, like me, you are someone who enjoys watching a writer develop and find their voice, this is a series for you.
/r/Fantasy Bingo 2017 Squares
- Not the First in a Series
- AMA Author