If an antagonist is intelligent enough to develop a devious plan such as the one Rainer concocted, why did she lack the intelligence or forethought of the devastation wrought during a drought? Giving readers the actual reason behind Rainer's hatred toward Murk, the leader of the Village where Brone lives, would have been nice - but not necessary if it didn't truly move the plot forward. However, revealing some of Rainer's personality traits and quirks, allowing readers a bit of a glimpse into this character, might have helped clue a reader into the why's and where for's of the attack. Also, in the months she has been living on Kormace, Brone has gone through an emotional roller coaster; readers have been given glimpses into her past life and have seen her character grow, typically following a pattern this reader noticed of two steps forward, one step back. That actually imitates life fairly nicely, so makes Brone a believable character that a reader can easily empathize with or for. However, even though involved in a horrific incident, Brone's character appeared to slip closer back to the self she was when first dropped at Kormace, in this final installment. She could easily attack one that had wronged her personally - her former selfish trait, but was 'wishy-washy' about fighting someone that intended to kill her and the small band of women she was with - her former indecisive and terror-filled self... it was Brone that had earlier chosen a 'kill or be killed' objective, and her attack on the one that had wronged her personally seemed to attest to that new attitude. Yet, she had to really talk herself into fighting back on the Norther woman that was lobbying arrows at her group, which contradicted what she had decided - and acted upon - earlier. This is not saying a choice to take a life should be an easy one for Brone, far from it. Rather, stepping forward and lobbying her own assualt of arrows, even if not aiming for a kill shot, would likely have better suited the new attitude she was growing into, while still allowing the believable growth in character.
Questions such as what happened to Murk or the Hunters Brone had come to call friends, could be left unanswered for the next installment as a strong incentive to continue reading the series, as they were. But there should be some resolutions found in the first book, in this reader's opinion. While this reader will not 'not' recommend Julien's work, she will state she was disappointed with this fourth installment of the book and likely will not continue with the series. ** Review originally posted to Amazon reviews on April 22, 2017 and Goodreads on the same date. **