Heidi Cullinan is a straight-up genius. There is just so much to these books--so many characters, and different aspects of characters, and even different fragments of the different aspects. And the settings are intricate and fantastically-well described. And the story is fast-paced and action-packed and there's that delicious feeling of danger and even apocalypse always being right around the corner.
But just at the exact moment I start to feel like maybe it's TOO fragmented, or the danger has gotten close enough I can't imagine it being averted, a character like Aurel (or Timothy in the first one) happens. And he is filled with enough love and hope and light that he's able to reassure everyone (me included) that happy endings are still possible.
I adored Aurel. I thought Timothy would have a fight on his hands for being my favorite character in the series so far, but there wasn't really a contest. Aurel was never difficult for me to understand the way Timothy has been. As soon as Aurel realized what he was and how he and Chakide fit into everything, he knew what he needed to do and he did it. There wasn't any of the hesitation or hand-wringing or mind-changing or self doubt that we've seen from both Charles and Timothy so far.
The character that surprised and delighted me the most in this one was Madeline. I loved all of the lessons she was able to learn and how much more confident and comfortable with herself she was by the end.
I also loved that we got that scene with Charles and Timothy on the bridge ALMOST able to touch. It was good to be reminded of why they're going through everything they are to get Timothy restored.
The more I'm shown of this world, the more I love it. It is detailed and beautiful and filled with fascinating people. I can't wait to read more about the delicious Captain Gibbs!