Waiting for the last book to wrap up this series. I’m ready for it to be done, even though I’ve enjoyed it. I like the narration and the characters (most of them) but the battles feel repetitive and the villains are nearly identical in methodology. Does nobody stay dead? Plus, I’m weary of trolls, trollkins, behemoths, and troll slime. (But thulls are interesting.)

It’s the characters — why I have stayed with this series. We see a lot of the ogre Fist in this book, and he’s cool, but I especially care about the spiritually wounded ones, like poor Talon the humanized raptor, and the telepathic Gork in a dress, and the tortured elf Lyramoor, etc. Cooley handles them well. He manages to transform his characters over time. It feels fairly credible. I have even grown to accept Squirrel. And I adore Deathclaw.

Need to discover what happened to this world, long before these people lived, when the four prophets were selected. Is this possibly alternate Earth? Also, who is the 4th prophet, the woman? Who is the creator? Many characters claim they have no faith, and religious worship isn’t a big part of the mythology, yet there is so much talk about free will, prophets, and a creator. This feels odd.

In all these books, nobody ever goes to sea. No ships are ever mentioned. Yet a coast is mentioned. What does this world look like? There is so much traveling. We need a map that shows all the lands, including Malaroo, Kalphany, etc. The maps provided at Cooley’s website are incomplete.

The setting is further diminished by modern language. “Hey, big guy” and “major players” and “wee-wee, willy” etc. Plus, the ogre Fist advanced too quickly from broken English to a fairly consistent standard English with subject-verb agreement, academic transitions (however), etc.

So, I feel the world setting is still vague after 9 books and the plot relies too much on über-powerful black wizards who won’t stay dead.

But despite this, I like some characters and plan to get the next book. Hopefully, it’s the last I’ll see of slimy trolls.

Ps. The storytelling quality has improved across the books. Cooley doesn’t insert too much internal dialogue: reflection, rumination, worrying, regretting, repenting, etc (thank goodness). Pacing is good. Dialogue is not as wooden as it was.

Flawless narration.