Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong
Book Three of the Age of Legends series
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC borrowed (thanks, Liza!)
Summary (from Goodreads):
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong comes the breathtaking conclusion to the Age of Legends trilogy, perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones.
The empire rests on the edge of a knife, and sisters Ashyn and Moria are the handle and the blade. Desperate to outmaneuver the evil Alvar Kitsune, whose hold on the people grows stronger every day, Emperor Tatsu begs Moria to put aside past grievances and ally with Gavril—at least long enough to make an attempt on Alvar’s life. Meanwhile, reunited with her long-lost grandfather, Ashyn discovers that she is the key to a ritual that could reawaken an ancient dragon and turn the tide of the coming battle in their favor.
But with lies and betrayal lurking around every corner, Ashyn and Moria will have to decide once and for all where their allegiances are. And it may not be where their hearts would lead them....
In this breathtaking final book in her epic trilogy the Age of Legends, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong blends fantasy, action, and romance to give readers the unforgettable ending they’ve been waiting for.
What I Liked:
First, I'd like to thank Liza for letting me borrow her ARC. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to read this book early, especially since it was not on Edelweiss. Thank you, Liza!
What a great conclusion to an amazing series! I loved Sea of Shadows, and really enjoyed Empire of Night, and this third book was a lovely addition and finale to the series. I'm sad to let go of the series, but at the same time, it ended so well, so it's hard to be sad!
Usually I summarize the book in my own words, like the Goodreads synopsis, but I'm afraid to do that and spoil something! I'm always hesitant with conclusion novels. But, this book picks up where the second book left off. Moria is with Gavril, and they are fleeing, but then they are caught by no ordinary highwaymen. Tyrus was separated from them. Meanwhile, Ashyn and Ronan are with someone who knows Ashyn - her grandfather - and needs her help. All the while, the war continues, and the empire is more threatened than ever by Alvar Kitsune's sorcery. Nothing is as it seems, and not everyone will survive...
I adore this series so much. Can you tell? Usually I don't like dual perspectives with two sisters, because I tend to develop a dislike for one sister. This book is written in third-person, alternating between Moria and Ashyn's POVs (they aren't together in any scenes until close to the climax of the book, so it makes sense to have both of their perspectives). Throughout this series, I have really liked both sisters. Ashyn is more quiet and calm and rational, and Moria is more blunt and impulsive and feisty. Both girls are incredibly strong and intelligent and develop immensely, from the start of the series to the end.
And so do our men! Tyrus, prince and bastard son of the emperor, has changed a lot from the beginning of the series. He is much more assertive and emperor-y, unafraid to defy his father or give orders. Ronan also undergoes really well-written character development; he's a thief looking to restore his family's warrior caste. But he has never left Ashyn, and has always protected her as best as he could. He is one of the most noble and honest (literary) thieves I know!
And finally, Gavril. Gavril is probably the most important character in this novel, and the one that changes the most. He plays an incredibly significant role in this book, and I personally think we can dub this as "his book", of the three books in the series. He is totally worth redeeming, and we come to understand some of his decisions. No excuse, but explanations.
I'll mention the romance - thank you, Armstrong, for never putting a whiff of love triangle in this series. We have two linear romances - Moria and Tyrus, Ashyn and Ronan, and honestly, the romances are barely there. Moria and Tyrus's relationship is more obvious because they have a physical aspect to it (especially in this book!), but Ashyn and Ronan have a more subtle relationship. Ashyn keeps pushing him away because she doesn't want him to give up his future and his siblings, for her. But their relationship is sweet to watch. Tyrus and Moria's relationship is fire and ice.
There are DRAGONS in this book! As one would expect, given this lovely cover. I loved the dragon that we get to see the most! But I also liked that the dragons were not a deus ex machina device. They did not solve all the problems or make the war go away. Which is good!
There were other supernatural magical creatures in this book, but terrible scary ones. I like how unique Armstrong builds anything magic-related, in this series.
The ending of this book is exactly how I like my trilogy endings - resolute, wrapped up, satisfyingly good, but not too perfect. Both sisters get a "happy ending" that fits each of them - take that as you will. I liked the ending a lot! And the book in general.
What I Did Not Like:
I can't think of anything specific! This book isn't getting five stars from me BUT it is a really great conclusion novel (and book in general)!
Would I Recommend It:
I highly recommend this book, if you've read Sea of Shadows and Empire of Night, or if you've started the series but never continued. It's also a great series to binge-read, no love triangles or painful cliffhangers or cruelties. If you're a YA high fantasy fan, give this series a try!
4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. I'm really pleased with this series and I'm glad I kept going and was able to finish it (not that I was expecting not to do so). I didn't like Armstrong's Darkest Powers series, but I really enjoyed this Age of Legends trilogy!
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