I knew from the heartbreak that came in the first two books in this series that I should expect this one to be similar. Honestly, though, I think this one was easier. It's hard to top the extreme amount of pain and loss that happened in book one.
Hoa finally really grew on me in this book. I was fascinated to read about his history, seeing him fleshed out. The book, really the entire series, deals so heavily with issues of slavery and prejudice, and it does not pull punches, ever.
This final book also had a theme of moving forward after devastating loss, which was really poignant.
I do think it was clear from the end of the previous book where Essun's story was going to end, given the style of narration. But even realizing that, the journey was not nearly so easy to predict, and I really fell in love the these characters. None quite as much as Alabaster, though.
This series is not easy to read, because it's so heavy, emotionally. I can't recommend it to everyone. But if you enjoy fantasy and want something different, that really delves into the ugly parts of humanity, and the ways that people survive horrific adversity, you should not pass this up.