Hmmm. Four stars? This is a tough one.
On one hand, this two-part series is typical John Wright at his best. It reads like a rich, literate collage of myth and symbol; it has great pacing and interesting characters, as well as astonishingly complex and viable world-building. It opens well, moves along nicely, and wraps up convincingly. All in all, what's not to like?
On the other hand, this two-part series is also John Wright at his worst. In the second book in particular, he devolves at crucial moments into simplistic political commentary mode; it seems as if he intermittently tries to shove a beautiful, satisfyingly Size Ten story into a naive, poorly conceived Size Four moralistic allegory. It's too bad. The story has its own universal thrust and motive, and it clashes hard with these particular, temporal, and petty constraints.
But, on my scorecard, the story wins anyway. After the first couple of these episodes-- he's particularly prone to having his heroes make long moralizing rants, for instance-- I just started ignoring them. Without them, the story was once again free to act on me as it should. I loved it for all its scope and uniqueness, and for its indescribably rich depiction of an epic struggle between good and evil.
Four stars, yes. But you may have to skim.