In this final installment of The Obsidian Trilogy, things come to an end; and, like most good magical war novels, pretty much EVERYONE dies. Have you read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? Yeah, the secondary character death rate is pretty similar here. And (SPOILER ALERT!) there is a similar deus ex machina-like resurrection that happens.
Also, a warning: the hundred or so pages that pertain to the Big Battle at the end are very engrossing; don't start chapter 16 if you don't have an hour or two to read.
Now that my inadequate mini-synopsis is out of the way, let's address the issue of the cover art: I really don't like it. The faces look all wrong; the figure in the foreground is supposed to be Idalia but she doesn't look quite... right. And in the background, next to Ancaladar, I assume we're supposed to see Jermayan (lucky Elf, to be on all three covers!), but his face really doesn't match with the other covers' depiction. I mean, he looks like he's wearing a brass mask here!
Alright, so now that this 496-page novel is over, I've finished the 1956-page trilogy. Crazy, right? But I must confess that as far as limiting the variables goes, I did a pretty crappy job of it; I read the first and the last novel in hardcover format, while the second one was in softcover format (hence its ridiculously high number of pages). So, depending on which format you prefer, this trilogy should be something in between 1400 and 3000 pages long. Hours and hours of entertainment!
As far as choosing favorites goes, I definitely prefer the third installment to the first; the first was a bit too slow-paced, and although the beginning of the third was a bit slow (augh, Elves in all their formality!), the pace definitely picked up and reached a peak during the Final Battle. Which makes sense, since we're talking about the climax of the story right there.
The second installment was also very good, and provided the reader with plenty of dramatic irony; and in terms of the pacing of the story, it was the most evenly fast-paced one. But still, it didn't have the Final Battle, and one character in particular was a bit annoying (augh, Cilarnen! Stop whining already!), so it takes a second place to When Darkness Falls.
All and all, I strongly recommend this highly enjoyable trilogy. This is what Tolkien could have written, if he had decided to focus on his writing skills more than on his map-making.