Shadowfane, the concluding volume of Janny Wurts’ THE CYCLE OF FIRE trilogy is an action-packed and exciting finale.
As humankind is being destroyed by demons (who we now know are aliens) Jaric has realized that he has no choice but to brave the Cycle of Fire. If he succeeds, this trial will gain him the powers of a Firelord, but he risks the destructive madness that afflicted his father.
The action never lets up and, along the way, there are plenty of wins and losses and lots of heart-breaking suffering for all of our heroes — especially Jaric, Taen, Taen’s mother, Corley, and the Kielmark.
There are also emotional displays of courage, grace, hope, faith, forgiveness, and love — themes which I appreciate in fantasy literature and miss in the writings of a few recently popular authors. The ending of Shadowfane is satisfying, but intriguingly not closed.
While reading THE CYCLE OF FIRE, I found myself once again greatly admiring Ms. Wurts’ imagination. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just say that I loved the science fiction elements and how Veriset Nav, motivated — almost consciously — to complete its program, developed its own mythos to hide itself from humans and aliens.
I read the audio version produced by Audible UK. David Thorpe’s enthusiasm is infectious. If you read THE CYCLE OF FIRE this way, I suggest using Ms. Wurts’ website as a resource — she has posted a helpful map and a glossary.