Yeah, the stories get more and more stretched the further into this world I go. The first three books were interesting because you are introduced to this world that has both strong science and magic. You are introduced to two young adults who have a Romeo and Juliet complex and fall in love despite all the opposing forces stacked against their relationship. Campbell even explains that Mage's came into being due to biological enhancements that were made to some individuals when Earth sent a bunch of colonists to this new world. That part of the series and the story is extremely interesting and well done.
But 4 books in and it just feels like a delaying tactic to keep from ending the series. Now the book follows the same themes that the 3rd book had, travel around gathering resources and allies in order to take on the great guilds. Necessary? Sure, from a practical standpoint Mari definitely needs to get more resources. But this book made it seem like getting those resources was relatively easy; people were just flocking to Mari, normal people, Mage's, and Mechanics alike. So when the whole book has Mari telling people to "wait" for her signal before rebelling while she goes around doing more things, it gets frustrating and starts to lag real quick.
Generally, I am not a fan of "destiny" characters. meaning that a character is important because they are destined to be, not because they actually do anything worth it. For the first three books in the series, Mari's destiny didn't bother me. She was a good character who earned her accolades. In the fourth book, destiny plays too much of a role while Mari becomes mopey over not wanting to be the "chosen one". This kind of behavior only makes sense when you first learn of a destiny, not two books later...
One thing I do want to point out, is the audio book narrator for this series is great, he does a great job making all the characters sound and feel a bit different from one another. However, the more I listen, the more I wonder if, I didn't have the narrator, if I would get the characters confused. Because, let's face it, showing no emotion when you talk is really only possible with a narrator, it doesn't come off as well when you are reading. And, while I am a big fan of YA books, this was the first time in the series where it really seemed to cater (in a bad way) to a kid audience. It made me self conscious as an adult and I don't want my guilty pleasures to do that to me... I'll finish out the series for sure, but this particular book earned a 3 of 5 stars.
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