SeánReadsBooks review of THE BEREFT (3/14/21)
One thing that I’ve enjoyed in all three books is the careful explanations that occur between characters. The reader is never left out of the loop. There have been full chapters (which are never short) where all that occurs is a single long conversation. Like the first two books, every conversation, thought, and movement has a purpose (for the most part). Again, each individual’s struggle is highlighted.
The pacing was really good and made for an easy read; steady, with some ‘down time’ between explosive, high-energy moments. There were plenty of times where my heart was racing and I just couldn’t read fast enough! Blacklocke has this way of writing that really drew me in. I easily became attached to the characters, but I also continued to be attached to them right to the end of the series. I rooted for them, I sympathized with them, I shared their feelings in emotional moments, and that’s a huge part of the reading experience for me personally!
Some minor plot points from the previous books – such as obtaining more food, the geddel crystal sources, and the soured relationship with the Hesch – became the focus of the book. Other minor points, including growing their population and the inner workings of Vennans’ bodies, were brought up as well. I wish the latter had been expanded on more.
I was delighted to find that Gredin and the Hesch interacted more, considering how little the Hesch appeared in the previous book. Another race was introduced in the second half, though it was a surface-level introduction. Each race is so unique, with their different cultures and traditions.
I really enjoyed Gredin as a character in this final book. She had some great character development. She was still coming to terms with her role as First Speaker and leader of the Vennan community. Her unwillingness to fight back against Tetralanna served her poorly in the last book, but she really stepped up in this one. She went from overly cautious to taking necessary – and even unnecessary – risks that paid off in the end. There was one point where I think she actually took it too far, but otherwise, it served her well.
After taking Khest as her alliance partner, she still wasn’t entirely comfortable with being intimate with someone who wasn’t her Chosen. The time that Khest spent to help her relax and get more comfortable before actually sleeping together was very sweet, and also showed how he, in turn, was dealing with having had other partners since the first time they were intimate. When Gredin addresses the Bereft and explains their shared trouble, she didn’t cower or concede in the face of Tetralanna’s scorn. It was a big moment for her, having so many people trust her words despite her revelation going against everything they’d learned over the course of their very long lives. It was a big step forward for her as a leader as well.
Gredin had to make a very hard decision regarding Nitikikani (yes, I typed that correctly on the first time without checking the book and I’m very proud of myself for having done so) in order to ease tensions between their races. Nitikikani actually had his own POV chapter, which I enjoyed. The deal Gredin and Nitikikani struck was originally an apology on Gredin’s end. It became far more profound than a simple apology when Nitikikani revealed why he was so obsessed with the flame stone pendant that Gredin wore (which she received from her chosen at their Choosing). I think their interaction helped Gredin process some of her grief. I think it also helped put her in a better mindset in concern to what was required of her as a leader.
I actually disliked Gredin at one point, for a decision she made. Though the preferred choice of these Bereft would have led to them being severely debilitated, it was still their choice to make. Many of them followed the very vocal Tetralanna, but I think if they had been given the chance to spend less time listening to her and feel the impact of their gyfts fading, they would eventually see sense. They weren’t given that time to think without Tetralanna influencing their decisions on the matter. This isn’t one of those problems that are going to be solved by forcing people into the solution.
Also, Gredin’s stones were never fully explained. Why they were doing more than just casting a pretty pattern when she was dumping them on Keegan’s bed closer to the end wasn’t explained. What were they indicating in that scene? I was dying to know more about her connection with the stones as well.
I actually disliked Burlon for a good part of this book. He and Gredin disagreed on some things, but going against her express wishes without explaining why felt like he crossed a line in the sand. Instead of addressing this issue, Gredin immediately forgave him. He’s a bit of a hypocrite in that he backs Gredin up when Tetralanna speaks against her, and speaks in her favour to her face, but goes behind her back. I’m rather disappointed that I finished this book viewing Burlon in a bit of a negative light.
Keegan’s life on Venna is brought up and I quite liked learning more about him. I found him to be an interesting character that I looked forward to seeing Gredin interact with. Seeing him struggle so hard against Tetralanna – and succeeding – spoke to his strength as a person but also spoke of his character, solidifying the impression that he had a strong will.
Tetralanna, of course, proved to be the worst type of person you could come across. I didn’t think I could hate her more until she used her gyft against Keegan, and then moreso when she shamed a Bereft for their choice when they were reunited with their Chosen. It was hard to tell what could be attributed to Tetralanna being out of Balance because she lost her chosen, what was bitterness over being overlooked by the Power in favour of Gredin, and what was a combination of the two. I imagine she would have had a lot of pent-up rage towards Gredin regardless of whether or not she’d lost her Chosen. In the end, she got what she deserved.
One major plot point in the book was left unsolved, but it didn’t take away from the book at all. In fact, if it had, it would have felt like Blacklocke was trying too hard to wrap it all up with a nice bow on top.
None of the negative things had a negative impact on my reading experience (with the exception of Burlon at the end). I could hardly put this book down, and finished it in five days! I would have finished it sooner if not for daily life getting in the way, haha. Even though I’m sad it’s over, this is a great ending to the fantastic trilogy that is the Tradepoint Saga!