I usually only give 1 star to books I decide not to finish. I'm tempted to make an exception for this book. How about 1.5 stars. I did finish it but it shouldn't be so hard to make your way through a book. I first got it out of the library but couldn't get it started because I couldn't stand Mac's incessant whining. Then, I decided to try the audiobook. I made it to about chapter 17 and decided I needed to do some serious skimming if I was going to make it through this book. Its hard to skim with my ipod. So I went back to the book. The book is about three hundred pages too long. The first 20 or so chapters could probably be pared down to one or two chapters if someone put a gag on Mac. I was tempted to just give up but when you've read four books in a series you want to see it through, right? After Barrons shows up again it got marginally more interesting but not by much. I wanted to know the answers to many questions that had come up in previous books, who is the kid in the desert, who is the traitor at the abbey, what is Barrons, etc. I had to wade through 600 pages of dreck to find those answers and was highly unsatisfied with the story in general. There were lots of unanswered questions and inconsistencies. And, Mac was still an irritating, immature, volatile TSTL nimrod by the end of the story. Blech.