- Title: The Battle of Evernight
- Author: Cecilia Dart-Thornton
- Series: Bitterbynde #3
- Genre: Fantasy
- Format: e-book
- Source: Own copy
- Reviewed by: Erica
- Rating: 4 out of 5
Description: Once upon a time the great Faeran high king, Angavar, became trapped in mortal Erith along with his twin brother – and nemesis – Morragan ‘the Raven Prince’, when the gate to the Faeran Realm was closed on them. . . Now, many centuries later, the fugitive who calls herself Tahquil has at last discovered the truth. She is being hunted down by the Raven Prince because she alone can reopen the gate to the Fair Realm, so Morragan plans to use her for his escape from exile. However, Tahquil’s mind is still clouded by a potent spell called the Bitterbynde, and she is also dying from a mystical wasting disease. The cure, and the final answers to the mystery of her past, can only be found in Evernight – at the fortress of the Raven Prince himself.
Nothing can prepare Tahquil for the horror that is Evernight. Here magic rules, the sun is banished — and the Raven Prince’s whims shape the very nature of existence. As Morragan’s wights and Angavar’s knights become locked in a battle that could engulf all of Erith, Tahquil’s quest for the truth finally hinges on a desperate choice. If she opens the Gate, will she thereby save two worlds — or instead destroy everything she holds dear?
Review: Warning: this review contains spoilers for the first book, The Ill-Made Mute, and the second book, The Lady of the Sorrows.
This is the final book in the Bitterbynde trilogy, and while it was overall just as gripping and well-crafted as the second part, I’ll dock it a point for the unsatisfying ending. I was by this point also getting a little weary of the constant major revelations that keep changing your idea of who a major character is (which wasn’t confined to just the protagonist). To me, names are very important in a book, and I dislike it when the main character keeps changing theirs with every book you read.
So, Imrhien of book one, who changed her name to Rohain in book two without so much as a protest, turns out to really be Ashalind na Pendran, the Talith (blond) girl who was present when the gates to the faerie lands were closed forever, which locked out the Faeran king and his treacherous brother. Except for most of this book, Ashalind calls herself Tahquil, to avoid detection. With me so far?
Ashalind/Tahquil decided at the last moment to leave the faerie lands and go back to the normal world, but because she left it so late she became trapped inside the Gate of Oblivion’s Kiss at the moment of closing. This gives her the option of going either way, but once the gate then closes it will remain closed forever.
She chose the real world, but managed to wedge the door open, and is now on a quest to find the Faeran king, Angavar, to offer him the chance to return to his realm. However, because time runs at a different pace inside the faerie lands, a thousand years have passed on the outside, and Ashalind lost her memory due to the geas or bitterbynde – a kind of curse – that was placed on the Gate. If this is confusing, the previous book explained it all in far more detail.
Having regained her memory, Ashalind must now avoid capturing the attention of Morragan, Angavar’s brother, who was the one who caused the gates to be shut forever, and whose plot to try and lock out the king resulted in them both suffering that fate.
Ashalind’s memory has returned incompletely, and most of the book is devoted to her journey to try and find the location of the gate she left open. The trek covers weeks, and she is accompanied by her two courtly servants/friends, Caitri and Viviana, as they trudge through dangerous landscapes populated with unseelie creatures bent on their destruction. To make matters worse, the return of Ashalind’s memories has also meant the return of the Langothe, the debilitating homesickness for the faerie lands that affects all mortals who have visited it, and which will eventually kill her.
Further events in the book again involve major revelations, everything is taken yet another step higher, but the final section of the book was to me very unsatisfactory, and I would maybe even say unnecessary. There is a postscript from the author explaining the end, but that shouldn’t have been necessary, even if the explanation made the ending more satisfying.
I would still recommend this trilogy to anyone who isn’t afraid of glossing over unknown words – lots of them – and who wants a bittersweet tale of magical creatures in a world of vast, dangerous landscapes with a dollop of romance thrown in. That said, I would be lying if I ranked it among my favourite series.