The Realms of the Gods - Tamora Pierce Nooooo, don't WANT it to be over. Want moar Daine!

I have a lot of mixed thoughts about this final volume, but I enjoyed the whole series so much. I know I'll be going back to read it all again before too long. As Leaf would say, Funfunfun.

Spoilery thoughts:

Not sure how I feel about the romance between Daine and Numair. I mean, on the one hand, it's pretty hott. On the other hand, he's TWICE her age and that's a little weird. I like that they leave it somewhat ambiguous, though. There's still time for her to grow up and change her mind if she wants to, and while I don't think she will, it's good that she has that choice.

Speaking of choice, OMG THE DARKINGS, ADORABLE. I love how Daine wins over an entirely new kind of creature that's never existed before, just by saving one from injury and then feeding it. Her instinctive kindness results in three extremely cute shadow-beings switching sides, which ends up being vital to winning the war for Tortall. Not QUITE as cute as Zek the teeny-tiny monkey--I think book three will always be my favorite. But pretty damn cute.

I wasn't too enamored with their trip through the Divine Realms. Everything was too weird, and Daine's parents made me uncomfortable by being too possessive of her and in her father's case being kind of a jerk. He is Lord of the Hunt though, so I suppose it's just his nature.

I like the themes of nature and choice that wind throughout this book and the rest of the series. We all have our natures, but we can all also act with free will. It sounds really trite when I put it that way, but it's done well in the book, especially with the Stormwings. I loved their origin story and the fact that Daine realized they had their place in the mortal world by the end, even if she personally disliked the majority of them. I also liked that no species was entirely good or entirely evil--even the dragons have in-fighting and closed-mindedness to deal with.

Gainel was weird, especially since I'm re-reading the Sandman series right now and Morpheus would never be half that kind--at least, not for the vast majority of his existence. Since Gainel is so obviously modeled after Gaiman's Dream, I had trouble with their personalities being so different. (Maybe this is supposed to be Daniel instead--he seemed nicer. I'll go ahead and fanwank that, even though Gainel has dark hair and a dark cloak.)

I was a bit disappointed we never found out the origins of the horrific Skinners, although I have a feeling I wouldn't want to know. I'm also not sure how I feel about the Tauroses being an immortal race that pretty much exists to rape women. Even if they are named after a Pokemon.