WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK OR DO NOT WISH TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS, TURN BACK NOW.
There’s one thing being a SOIAF fan has taught me and that is never get close to a character because that character will undoubtedly die. Temar was that character for me. I liked the way his character was portrayed in the previous two books and I liked how he had a plan all his own that Catwin didn’t seem to know. Then comes the what felt like a too forced romantic relationship, albeit a brief one, between the two and suddenly Temar’s throwing his life away for Catwin. I mean, obviously, you can’t have the POV character die while they’re telling the story, but Temar’s death just seemed like there was no real point to it. I mean, yeah, he stopped a war (for the second time, but let’s get into that later) but it all seemed to lead up to something bigger. I could have gladly seen Temar and Catwin fighting to end the war together, sneaking into the Ishmarian camp and fighting their way back out, with Temar sustaining mortal wounds then but no, Catwin had to find out who was betraying her (Hint: It was Roine, something I saw from the first book), not at all a big surprise. Then Temar’s dying in Catwin’s arms, telling her who he really is and asking her to take his ashes back to his sister. and Oh look, there are more people who have prophetic dreams, they seem to be all the rage in this book.
The beginning of the book drags unnecessarily by focusing on Catwin and Miriel’s journey to the southern provinces and their subsequent battle to win the commoners onto the side of “You started this rebellion, stop standing around talking about it and do something”. With promises that Willheim will sign a treaty should they draw one up and Catwin promising to teach farmers to fight, the first half of the book is more or less Catwin telling us about how Miriel works hard on drawing up a treaty and Catwin teaching farmers to fight. But honestly, this series is just so drawn out by the pointless things Catwin and Miriel do.
The ending was somewhat sweet, Miriel admitted to killing her uncle and was so stripped of her titles, lands and money and was now a commoner like the people she tried helping, so she goes with Catwin to take Temar’s ashes to his sister, the only clue they have is that she’s on the Floating Isles. Since I was mostly done with the book at this point I made an educated guess as to who his sister was and it turns out I was right. Temar’s sister, as queen of the Floating Isles tells Catwin and Miriel that they’re welcome to stay there for as long as they want. Catwin looks around, feels like she feels closer to Temar there and they both agree. A very predictable ending to a very predictable series in my opinion.