I use the word "sadly" because I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey that "Ardalia" has taken me on - both as an editor and as a reader.
Here is the synopsis from Amazon.co.uk:
"The great hunt had begun, and the hevelens were the prey. When would it end, and how? Impossible to predict…
With the malian army defeated, the forces of Destruction are laying siege to the Gate of the Canyons and spreading out over the Windy Steppes. For every child of the wind or the water captured and hurled into the Great Rift, a Nylev, a fire-being, is born. Pelmen, Laneth, Lominan and Elisan-Finella must convince the krongos to join them in their desperate struggle, but only a handful of the mineral creatures remain, and Valshhyk, the Immolated, seems unstoppable…"
Tempted? You should be! You really do need to read the first two books in the series ("The Breath of Aoles" and "Turquoise Water") to get the most enjoyment from book 3, but you won't be disappointed with those either!
The character development within this series is superb. I found myself becoming attached to characters without even noticing - which is an astonishing thing to happen to me, since I'm usually certain of "love, hate, or indifferent" responses almost immediately.
The story is one that will keep you reading long past lights out time, and you'll be happy to have exchanged a few hours of sleep for "just one more chapter"!
To celebrate the upcoming release of "The Flames of the Immolated" (available for pre-order from both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk right now!), I asked Alan Spade what three questions he would like to ask his readers about this book. Here they are - along with my answers.
Alan Spade: What is your preferred book of the Ardalia trilogy, and why?
Me: Oh, that's an unfair question! Each book in the Ardalia trilogy has something about it that gives it an advantage over the other two. Book 1 is the opening, with the introduction to a new world, so it has that added excitement for that reason alone. Book 2 is when the story starts to intensify, and we're more used to the world of Ardalia. Book 3, because everything gets tied up nicely with no loose ends. So my preferred book is... Am I allowed to say "the box set"?!
Alan Spade: If you wanted to convince a friend to buy the books, what arguments would you use?
Me: Sadly, none of my friends are interested in fantasy. They don't know what they are missing. The Ardalia trilogy is a great "gateway" series, in my view. If someone has never picked up a fantasy novel, this would be the perfect place to start - and I guarantee that any non-fantasy fans will be converted after the first book.
Alan Spade: Some readers have found similarities with Avatar: The Last Airbender TV Series. Have you found similarities with other books or series, and which ones?
Me: I must admit, I hadn't heard of this series before you told me about it, Alan. I don't like to compare books with each other on the basis of story line similarities - it could come down to things like the main character's name starting with the same letter!
Instead, I like to compare on the basis of the quality of the writing and the general feeling the books give. In which case, I put the Ardalia trilogy on a par with Tolkien, Robin Hobb, Juliet Marillier, Fiona McIntosh, David Eddings - all my favourite authors.
So... that's the end of the Ardalia trilogy. A sad moment really. But the good news is I can read the books all over again :)