So I started the last in the Scholomance series with great anticipation and hit the wall. Spoilers below and probably many more in the comments. You have been warned.
Really, a lot of spoilers.
So my biggest problem was all the explaining. And the description. And the deep thoughts. I kept thinking, “Orion is trapped with a mawmouth, and you’re describing a garden?” I think the opening up of the setting was part of the problem although it was inevitable, so I don’t think it was a wrong choice on the part of the author. Certainly keeping El and Orion apart for so long was not a help since the tension and draw between them powered the first two books (ask me how I know that keeping the power-of-the-book couple apart for too long is a bad idea). And it really undercuts that this-was-meant-to-be part of the motive when El sleeps with somebody else while she’s trying desperately to save the boyfriend. It just felt to me as though the plot was all over the place, lost in too much details about enclaves and intricate magic politics. My interest lay solely in getting Orion out of the Scholomance before Patience (Fortitude?) ate him, so all the detailed maneuvering that El was doing felt like walking through weeds.
The first two novels will always be big keepers for me. I’ve read them over and over, and I’m sure I will again. This one I’ll try again, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be skimming to get through it.
Okay. Over to you all. Knock yourselves out, but be kind to authors. None of us ever try to write a book with problems, but they happen all the time, so no “She really mailed this one in” or “She didn’t even try.” The level of detail and craft on this one is just as superb as the first two, and she deserves props for that alone. Also, authors who live in glass manuscripts shouldn’t throw stones: everything I’ve objected to here I’ve done inadvertently in my books.