So we have reached the end of journey, where it is always darkest before the dawn. Just as it looks like several of our protagonists are about to be executed for treason and other supposed crimes plus a forced marriage to murder the empress and to usher in a new era of totalitarian control, it appears the Heir of Novron has been found. The line has not been broken but the revelations surrounding the heir's identity and the machinations as to how we got to this story ends in a pretty exciting conclusion.
I was excited to see that perhaps the middle entry faltered a bit but the last part picks up in excitement again. However, I have a bit of a mixed feeling about the endeavor. Even though the author planned out the entire series before writing and answered a question on Goodreads as to why he hasn't written a sequel (yet) the last book felt a bit tacked on and suddenly I got very strong 'Lord of the Rings' vibes from the story. The first book of this end of the trilogy was good and got my hopes up even though I thought stuff was happening too soon and wasn't sure what Sullivan planned for the last entry.
The criticisms are merited. Alric seems to regress as a character and I was very disappointed in how his story ended (although I wasn't surprised at what it meant for his sister). The death of a particular love interest felt much more like a plot device than anything else. I wasn't surprised that the heir's identity wasn't a particular character and felt Sullivan might do a bait and switch (although I picked the wrong person). The red herring character was quite annoying and I thought that gave away that the heir was someone else. Also wasn't feeling the remaining love interests that formed but luckily the romance was not a heavy part of this story.
I'm also a bit skeptical about how the events of the book play out for the Riyria, who started out as two common thieves and then ended in VERY different places at the end. Sullivan wrote he wasn't interested in writing a sequel as he felt he was fine with where he had left the characters (which might account for the last entry), but mentions in a more recent question than the one I mention above that since there is demand. I'm not sure I would read it (nor am I sure I'm interested in any of the prequels) but maybe it would be something I'd take on again someday. For now I'm content with this adventure.
So I'd say this entry is a 3.5. I enjoyed it a lot, found it to be a great read for my vacation and would recommend it if you have a long flight or are recovering and can't move much or are in the mood for a huge epic. It's a great binge read (I personally wouldn't want to leave too much time between books since Sullivan mostly avoids doing info dumps).