Anna Smith Spark concludes her trilogy in a truly spectacular fashion; it is fast, violent and ferocious. ALL HAIL THE QUEEN OF GRIMDARK!
The House of Sacrifice gets the ending it deserves. Marith gets the ending he deserves. I must admit, I was a little worried going into this because more often than not writers don’t end their books in the best way. They don’t take risks. They give them nice fluffy endings. They wrap it up and tie a nice pretty bow on it. This couldn’t ever happen here. I’m glad Anna Smith Spark had the stones to end this properly. It’s one of the darkest trilogies in fantasy and it needed an ending just as dark.
At the heart of the story is a tragic romance between two psychopaths that found solace in their shared sense of vileness and sadistic impulses. They are both evil. And they were made for each other. They think about killing each other everyday and even get close on several occasions. They love each other. They hate each other. And they are stuck with each other because nobody else in the world understands what it is to be that far gone, that dark and that twisted. They are both monsters. And this dynamic really took the story to a whole new level because it was about more than murder. I would like to say that they were redeemed by their love, that it made them better people, but it didn’t.
Marith is a great character study. He is more deprived than Jorg Ancrath but also more human; he doesn’t want this darkness, but he must accept that it’s a part of him that he will never be able to give up. It’s who he is, for better or worse. And he does feel regret for his actions. He murders children and then weeps about it the next day. He commands his dragons to burn his own camp followers and then mourns for those he has killed. He knows remorse. This probably makes him an even worse person because he knows his actions are terrible, but he follows through with the anyway. I almost feel sorry for him. He cannot change his destiny. He was made for death and ruin only: he knows nothing else. And through the series he slowly descended into death driven madness and despair. What’s left to kill when you have killed everything? What’s left to conquer when you own the entire world? Nothing.
A story like this could only end in one way. And it was delivered with the master strokes of a poet who is completely comfortable in her craft. Anna Smith Spark has grown as a writer across this series and I’m excited to see what she may come up with next. I shall be certainly watching out for future works because she has proven that she can keep pace with the best writers of the genre. Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch and Mark Lawrence make way because the Queen of grimdark is ready to lead the charge in a new wave of dark fantasy fiction.
Review by Sean Barrs
9.3/10 from 1 reviews
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