Lamenting the End of A Series I Love: Steles of the Sky – Elizabeth Bear

There’s something I need to get off my chest. When this book was announced, I just about offered to cut off my right arm to get a copy of it. I was bugging the people at Tor almost constantly. I wanted this book so bad it hurt. This series has absolutely rocked my world. Bear hit all the right notes, and I just couldn’t wait to see how it ended.

Then I got the book in the mail, and it took me (I’m not kidding you) about a week before I was willing to crack the spine and open the damn thing. Another week before I came to grips with the fact that this incredible series was actually ending. And an interview with Elizabeth Bear herself before I kicked my own ass and decided it was time to get over it, and just read the damn book.

My problem, darling readers, is that I never want a series to end, and when it’s a series I love as intensely as I love this one, getting myself to read the last book was a psychological exercise. This was it. There was no first-time reading The Eternal Sky trilogy again. There’s a magic in that first read-through of a book that you just can’t ever have back. When it’s the last book in a series that is this incredibly amazing, I feel a bittersweet happiness. This is the last time I’ll ever read an Eternal Sky book for the first time.

How pathetic is that?

I really, really love my books.

I can’t really review this book, because it’s the last book in a series. You have to read the other two before you can get to this one. I can’t say anything about the plot that won’t ruin previous books for readers, or ruin this book for potential readers.

This book is a journey. It’s the kind of series conclusion that I so often want, and rarely ever find. The plot is tied together nicely. The characters are just as intense and develop just as much (and still manage to surprise me) in ways that I really didn’t anticipate in the last book of a series.

I could say a lot about this book. I could say a whole lot, but I don’t really want to. I want readers to be just as surprised, as sad/happy as I felt when I read it. This series is a true treasure, and it is so rare that a book literally moved me to tears. It made me feel things that books so rarely make me feel.

Steles of the Sky is an absolutely beautiful book in every possible way. Elizabeth Bear really outdid herself here. It’s pure art. The world has been so well established in previous books that I could really just sit back and enjoy how things were unfolding. The emotional suckerpunch was unexpected and hugely surprising. And most of all, everything just felt so damn right. It was perfect. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the last book of a trilogy.

While I am sad that I can’t read this brilliant trilogy for the first time ever again, I am really happy that I chose to pull my head out long enough to actually finish this book. It was so worth my time, and my effort.

Honestly, this is one of the most pleasing epic fantasy series I have read in a few years. I’m kind of getting burned out on epic fantasy. I’m tired of the tropes, the European-esque setting with the king/queen/people in big dresses who live in old castles and have plenty of servants. There is a time and a place for that, but the Eternal Sky trilogy hit me right when I was looking, searching for that one epic fantasy series that could take everything I associate with epic fantasy and turn it on its head.

This series made me love epic fantasy again. Steles of the Sky is surprisingly powerful. Elizabeth Bear is a master of the craft.

I’m sad that it is over. I’m happy that I read it.

I’m thrilled that she’s planning another series in this world.

It can’t drop soon enough.

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