Like a sitcom. Everything's the same at both ends.
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This was a poor showing by one of my favorite authors.

It starts of good, you get re-immersed into the 7 Realms and it feels like sinking into a comfy chair. Right from the get go I'm excited by this book. Then NOTHING happens! The author pigeon holes herself into some school that is completely removed from the driving action of the seires.

Imdont know if she did this because she wanted to send some people to a wizarding school like Harry Potter (no don't get your hopes up it has none of the fun, charm, wit, or excitement of Harry Potter). I suppose she could also have done it try and string the originally series originally planed as a trilogy to 4 books to satisfy her new book deal. Or it maybe was just a set up book.

I'm guessing it's a combo of the last 2. Because really there wasn't anything that happened in this nearly 600 page BEAST of a book, that couldn't have been done in a couple of hundred (or 2, just 2 pages).

Honestly. Here I'll sum it up, you meet one new important character and 3 or 4 minor ones. 2 of the main characters acquire special skills. Everyone leaves home, then every one goes home.

At the end of the book your left with the same basic ending as the first only now everyone is going home instead of leaving. And your just left to wonder why they bother and why you just spent a good portion of your life slogging through this book hoping something will happen.

Read the cliff notes and move onto the next one. Chima is a talented author, let's hope she shows it in the next one.