The final book in Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear’s Iskryne Saga, An Apprentice to Elves, wraps up a series that began with a splash in A Companion to Wolves (2007). This time the reader is primarily following Isolfr’s daughter Alfgyfa, apprenticed to the alfar, as well as other characters who were secondary in the previous two books. The first novel was a fresh, engaging, and often-grim take on companion animal fantasy while the second explored the aftermath of a war—but this third and final volume approaches issues of cultural conflict and the battle that has finally come to bear against Rhean conquest and colonization.
It’s been interesting to watch this series develop, for two reasons. One is the spectacular, absorbing, densely-researched world of the Iskryne; honestly, I’m a bit heartbroken to see it finished with. The other is that, over the past eight years, these writers have each—and have as a pair—developed a great deal in terms of their delicacy and skill of craft. The end result is a series where each installment truly stands out and stands its individual ground as a wildly different sort of text, without ever losing the coherence and engagement of the project as a whole.