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I really wanted to like this book more than I did, because I admire and respect Kress's work tremendously. Unfortunately this is a very disappointing resolution of the Beggar's trilogy. The optimism tempered with realism that characterized the first book has completely dissipated by the time one reaches book three. Instead one is left with a view of humanity that is at best discouraging and at worst downright depressing. Perhaps this reflects the current cultural malaise, but I always liked science fiction best when it was aspirational and heroic rather than defeatist.
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This series is a good one. The characters are likeable and real. Kress drops them off way too often in situations where it seems like she had problems continuing their stories. It makes me wonder if she would ever write a fourth book.