Book three of Crown of Stars introduces Zacharias as the new viewpoint character to help hold the book together as a separate unit. His story is largely passive, as he follows Sanglant’s mother, who re-enters after her exit in the original prologue. He also doesn’t get nearly as much time as Anna did, but it is put to good use introducing elements that are important later, and Zacharias develops nicely through the book.

Liath continues to be the main center of interest, and also holds the book together as she is confronted with the same choice at the beginning and end of the book. Much is finally revealed about her background, though uncertainty resists. And in the middle of it all, we get the info-dump that puts the ‘epic’ in this fantasy….

Meanwhile, Alain, having gone from the bottom to the top, rapidly descends back to the bottom of the ladder in this volume. He stays very essentially true to himself, even as everything he’s gained is taken away, and major changes (including a shift to a completely different subplot) are promised for book four.

And in addition, all the other plots keep going, and the scope of the series continues to expand, with the action leaking out from Wendar to the south and east. Overall, despite the increased length (800 pages instead of 600) I felt this one held together a bit better than book two. It doesn’t deliver the excitement of the end of the previous book, but it maintains a good pace throughout, and doesn’t bog down the way Anna’s story did for me.