So every now and then I forget to write up a book, which really messes with my head, because I rely on these write-ups to keep track of what I’ve read. So when I go back to look for an entry about a book and it’s not here, I immediately wonder if I actually read it at all, and whether maybe I’m thinking of a different book? But fortunately I don’t need to doubt my own reality too hard this time, because I have textual evidence from elsewhere that I did in fact read S.A. Chakraborty’s The Empire of Gold, the third book in her Daevabad trilogy.
It was, of course, months ago, so this is going to be a bit light on the details, but the tldr is that Chakraborty nails the landing, and successfully puts an ending onto this epic fantasy of politics and magic and court intrigue. For some fantasies, this is an easy task—they’re about restoring the status quo, so just defeating the Big Bad gets you what you need. But this is a series where it becomes clear quickly enough that the status quo, while pleasant for some, was deeply unjust and unsustainable; and that while the first two books have put things into an unsettled and unpleasant place, a satisfying ending can’t just be a restoration, but needs to be a new path forward.
As anyone who’s seen the Game of Thrones TV show can attest, this is a harder feat to pull off narratively, but while I’ve forgotten the details of how things ended up here, I do remember that I found it a satisfying resolution. Which makes this trilogy an easy recommendation for those who are looking for a breezy-but-weighty epic fantasy trilogy that hits that fine balancing line between originality and familiarity, and is satisfyingly complete.