This book is perhaps a let-down from the enthralling Temple of the Winds. The surprising discoveries, the heart-pounding action of the previous volumes are missing here, even during the climax, and the main danger seems somehow diminished and unimportant. The storyline doesn’t concern much with magic; in fact the absence of it is the crux of the story. What we’ve got left has mostly to do with the world of ordinary, non-magic people (muggles?) and their endless plotting and machinations. Perhaps because I’m don’t care much for politics, I find most of the plot borderline dull. Even the climax seems rushed, being resolved in about 15 pages or so, and leaves many loose ends. Perhaps most annoyingly, the main characters go out and put themselves in danger needlessly and trivially; knowing that things would be tied together somehow in the end doesn’t make it any less annoying. The emotional veins that make the previous volumes so endearing are conspicuously absent here; there are few sympathetic characters to latch on to, to exhort. The only thrills I had with this book have to do with Cara’s adventures, few though they are. This volume is the weakest in the series thus far. I can only hope number 6 will be better.
Originally posted December 7, 2002 on Amazon.com