This is the final book in the quartet, and wraps up the epic fantasy begun in The Naming. I had quite a lot of reading time today, between washing windows, doing laundry, visiting my local Costco and writing up my post for Chapter 1 of The Hobbit. I devoured this book in about four hours.
This is one of those series that will need to be reread to fully experience it, but, as a starting point, I loved this last book. The first two books are primarily Maerad, the third book is all Hem, and this book is told in alternating narratives between Maerad and Hem, until they meet one another for the final battle with the Nameless One.
There are a lot of books that are billed as a YA version of LOTR. This is one of the few that I think really does deliver on the promise, as well as any book ever can. Croggon is primarily a poet - the Chronicles of Pellinor is her only foray into epic fantasy. While her world building isn't as rich as Middle Earth, it is very well-done and feels complete and real and deep. Like Middle Earth, there is a great deal of scope for expansion, and, should she decide to revisit the world of Annar and Turbansk and Innail and the rest of places described in her series, there are no doubt many stories left to tell.
Yes, there are many of the same fantasy tropes that are frequently found in high fantasy - most particularly, the prophesy of one who is foretold, the heroic quest, the humble farm boy (in this case, slave girl) who must complete the epic quest to rid the world of the evil force controlling it. Croggon makes it work, though, and there are aspects that remain fresh - the idea of using a pair of siblings that are two halves of the corrupted whole is unique and compelling.
The thing, though, about those tropes are that they are beloved of readers, which is why authors often use them. And, in this case, the story is both familiar and fresh, the characters are recognizable and simultaneously unique. And when all is said and done, I really did enjoy this series.