The last of the Valdemar-Vanyel-magic in this series, and it's taken me a couple of days to digest it. While reading it, I enjoyed it immensely, but it left a lot of questions hanging in thin air. I liked it well enough, it was a good story, but the last half of the book felt hurried, hastily and shoddily put together, and this had me falling out of the narrative more than once. I feel it was not up to Ms Lackey's usual standards. I have only a couple of excerpts from the whole book, which—for me—is telling. (And to be honest, there was a lot of "telling" going on, and not so much "showing")."He's like a cat; takes up far more space than is even remotely possible under the laws of nature." This made me giggle."I love you, too. You're absolutely the best friend, the dearest love I've ever had. I'll love you as long as there's anything left of me." This had me bawling my eyes out, and with good reason. I wish I wish Ms Lackey had written this whole last installment in the series in more chapters, with more words, more years, more story, more everything. I feel a little lost, a little bit like Stef. And I feel Stef was tricked out of his rights not once, but twice. First as Tylendel, and then as Stefen. Which I thought was very sad. What I have loved through all three books, however—and what makes me give this last one a four-star rating—is the fact that for the first time, I am reading a story about a manly man (who isn't into fighting and muscles and shooting and blood), a man who is openly gay (but doesn't fiddle around making excuses ) and at last, a man who is strong. So strong. A new kind of manly-strong. Impressive. But I would like for someone to explain to me why the Dark Mage Leareth was after Vanyel, and who he was. Together with about 16 other questions that were left unanswered. It was a little bit like this: Vanyel arrives, Vanyel finds a new love, King is sick, new love can help, dark mage appearing and then Book Finished. Trilogy over. Story done. WHAT? Huh? there is a whole warring host of What? Who? Why? How? Really? When? and Were? running around my head now. The ending was not up to the rest of the opus. I much preferred the first and second books. We come full circle with this last one, but it's a wiggly-squiggly circle, one that doesn't roll well. It kind of fell apart when Savil was killed. It all went out the window right about then, as if Ms Lackey was tired of writing this story and wanted it finished.Perhaps if Stef could step out of the pages and come sing me the final song? His Bard-gift is to make people live the story he sings—that would be of great help to my understanding right now. Frustrating. ***I was NOT asked to read this book by anyone, I paid for it with my own money, as I do for all the books I read, all the music I listen to and the movies I watch.