Okay, I finally, in this last volume, see where the comparisons to Lord of the Rings come from. I don't agree, but I can see where they come from.This is the sort of book that's frustrating in the best way. Things are difficult, and only get more difficult. What happy endings can be found are largely earned, and many who earned their happy endings don't get them. But through it all, there is an undercurrent of hope - not only coming from the characters, but coming from the story itself, the triumph of the beleaguered and vagabond, the triumph of the overmatched and overlooked. It's a triumph by inches, hard won and battled for in every moment.As a book, it might not work. As an ending, it brings all the previous books together into a solid, connected tale and we can see how every volume was leading up to this one.