Where we left off, Calwyn, a once-powerful and talented chanter, has lost her powers. She no longer senses magic in the world, yet she is still on a mission to defeat Samis, the antagonist from the first books who seems bent on using magic to dominate the world. Calwyn’s love interest, Darrow, left her in book 2 in order to return to his homeland. She longs to be reunited with him, but she is ashamed that she has lost her power.
Without giving away too many plot points, Calwyn eventually regains her powers but has to find out how to deal the world. A snow-sickness is spreading to all chanters, and it has affected Darrow, who is an ironchanter. Calwyn cannot touch Darrow until she heals him, but even with a talented healer, Darrow’s time is running out. Too much else is revealed in this book that would ruin the plot for you, so I’ll stick with critique for the rest of this review.
I enjoyed the first book in the series the best. I thought Calwyn was portrayed clearly and effectively in that book. In the second two books, the plot seemed to get in the way. There was also a budding romance between Calwyn and Darrow in the first book, and I actually felt the romantic tension between them. The feeling dwindled in the second book (because of the plot), but in the third book, it’s implied that a romance exists, though I wasn’t feeling any of it. (This is for younger readers, so I’m not looking for an all-out romance, but I want to feel something between the characters.) As a counterpoint, Calwyn is at one point kidnapped by Samis, and there is a brief romance that develops between them, and I felt much more tension there than I did at any point with Darrow.
I did like the idea Constable wove into the conclusion of the book (brief spoiler ahead!). We learn of the origins of the two feuding factions—one originated from the tree people, the native population of the world, while the other came from space—the space between the stars. There’s even a spaceship at the end. Really.
Another really great aspect of the book–but a huge spoiler: the tenth power Calwyn had been seeking was actually the written word. It was a new concept for the world in which she lives, and once she discovers the written word, she realizes that knowledge can now be written down and passed on truthfully from one generation to the next; knowledge no longer has to be lost, and superstitions don’t have to be perpetuated as they were in our own Middle Ages. This was a great concept.
My favorite scene, however, was the dancing scene at the end. I won’t ruin why the scene was there, but the imagery contained is amazing.
This was a quick read, and despite my disappointments with some of the characterization, I am glad I finished the series.