In an effort to finish the series before moving on to new fare, I finished Mercedes Lackey's Storm Rising yesterday on lunch and started into the last book in the trilogy.
Rising is exceptionally angsty, as Karal is dealing with being an exceptionally young envoy whom nobody really respects and Firesong is busy being overly dramatic as he begins to figure out he and An'desha aren't lifebonded mates.
In Karal's case, he actually manages to almost get a Shin'a'in blood feud declared on him after coming down on the opposite side of Jarim, the current Shin'a'in envoy. While this does eventually work itself out, it's really ugly, sending Karal to the Ekele of Firesong and An'desha to recover.
Firesong, on the other hand, once he realizes how badly he and An'desha are splintering, decides to make a soul holder the way Ma'ar did back in prehistory. (Indeed, this is how Ma'ar ended up possessing An'desha.)
Then there's Termane in Hardorn, cut off from the Eastern Empire. He slowly begins to integrate the town of Shonar with the Imperial garrison, becoming a better leader in the process.
Indeed, during Solaris's state visit, some scrying between Karal, An'desha, and Natoli reval him to be the one the Allies need to talk to about alliance, since the next solution will likely involve Hardorn. Which means both Karal and Solaris finding ways to get past Tremane's execution of their friend and mentor.
Ultimately, we end up in the Dhorsia Plains, at the melted tower of Urtho, in hopes of finding a weaopn that can counteract at least one set of ripples in the reverse cataclysm. And it is here that more than a few differences get worked out before book two ends.
By far the one things that sticks out in this book is Firesong's reactions to a relationship ending. One gets the distinct impression Firesong is used to being in control of his relationships, and not used to the gradual drift that separates him from An'desha. Something that many people understand all to well.
On to the next.