Wow - those last few chapters were brutal! I have to say I wasn't quite expecting such a high bodycount - it's no wonder Sabira has nightmares (with or without thought-manipulating amulets - nice touch, by the way!) when she witnesses the deaths of so many people under her care.
As much as I disliked seeing Skraad, Zi and Rahm fall, the scene worked for me primarily because Sabira seemed helpless and torn - she wanted to save them, but she simply wasn't powerful enough. Losing Jester in the next chapter was just as bad - the scene where they waited by the beach was pretty dark, especially as it's uncertain whether he's still alive under all that water.
Jester's fate is the one thing I've gotten the most questions about, and some people have asked why I didn't spell it out more clearly, but I wanted it to be a loose end. Not because I wanted the option of bringing Jester back at some point (though I suppose that's always a possibility, however unlikely), but because I felt it was more realistic. Sometimes people go missing and we never know what happened to them, or even if they're dead or alive. That's not something that you really see in this type of fantasy fiction, because we generally like our fiction to make more sense than our reality does. However, I think it's something someone in Sabira's position would have to deal with, and I wanted to show that.
Plus, it makes things harder for Sabira, which is always a good thing.
Overall, then, I enjoyed the book, but I have to admit to feeling a little disorientated afterwards; perhaps it's because I'd read Shard Axe in paperback and Skein of Shadows as an e-book, but Skein felt to be a bit too short somehow; and weirdly the more personal climax of Shard Axe seemed to be more powerful than Sabira's averting of a potentially huge menace in Skein. The parts of the book I enjoyed the most were the descriptions of the fantastic locations, and the character development and interaction (especially the banter that davidgiven described above) - obviously word limit will always be one of the greatest pressures, but I'd have loved to see more from the other characters (although I thought Greddark was a great foil for Sabira and a great character in his own right). Perhaps as Dado says the only way that could happen with this format is with a trilogy.
My original ending for this book did set up another book, but I was asked to change it, since whether or not there is another book will depend on sales. That may be part of the reason it seemes a little short to some folks, but as I said, I'm happy with how it turned out. Hopefully I'll get a chance to turn it into a trilogy at some point, but that's largely out of my hands. (So buy copies for all your friends for Christmas! Heh. )
I do hope we see more of Sabira and Elix - I can't imagine that Wilhelm will be happy with Elix's proposal, and I dare say that events will conspire against them in the worst possible way, but I'll certainly enjoy reading about them! Many thanks for taking part, Marcy - I *think* I've got a copy of Legacy of Wolves around here - I'll have to see if I can squeeze it in so I can learn a bit more about Greddark
Thanks so much for having me! I had a great time, and really appreciate eveyone's participation. You all rock!
And definitely read LoW if you get a chance - it's a much different tone than Sabira's books, and Greddark gets a lot more screen time. I think you'll like it.