This book strained my patience to the very limits, but my perseverance did pay off. ETN had a lot of back and forth just as book 2 did, which drove me to distraction, but unlike that one the ending has some satisfying resolutions and made me eager for the story to continue. The book does have issues, and it doesn't hold up to the quality of book 1, but it was far better than book 2.
The story starts out as anticipated - Cassie needs to find a way to break the geis Mircea laid on her. Her will to resist is fading, and Mircea is going insane. I have to admit, the author's resolution to the dilemma was smart if extremely simple, and had been hinted at several times to astute readers. Some readers may find it disappointing; I was just glad it was over. The downside is that readers have to wait to the very last chapter for that resolution. Cassie needs Merlin's Codex which should have a counter spell in it. But the Codex has been unwriting itself through the years, and so the complete text can only be found in the past. No problem for a time traveling clairvoyant. Wrong. Everyone either wants the book for themselves because it is so powerful, or they don't want anyone to have it because it is so powerful. Which side of this debate Pritkin falls on is critical to the story. Until that last chapter, Cassie jumps back and forth through time, with small battles sprinkled in here and there, to find it. The action is fast paced and mostly useless, as she skips around like a little girl at a party. The main intent of all these trips is for Cassie to learn just who her allies are (especially Pritkin), but this could have been done in a less muddled and exhausting way. At times I become so frustrated I literally growled at the book! Hopefully, the author will realize that the constant time shifting is distracting and annoying to a reader.
The awesome, and truly clever, revelations about Pritkin made the entire book worth reading. His character was beginning to get beyond aggravating as the author constantly had Cassie (and readers) guessing if he was on her side or not, just as in book 2. Yet, his involvement in the geis is much deeper than suspected, and he becomes a catalyst for the introduction of another powerful, and potentially plot inducing, character - Lord Rosier. Cassie also discovers some twists to her new power (even managing to duplicate Agnes' time freezing trick, by accident of course), and sees how much responsibility it is to be Pythia.
The ending saved this book from being mediocre. My fears that the geis would consume many books to come were laid to rest but the actions surrounding the geis provided lots of cool plotlines and enough resolution to make some progress. Readers learn who the golden god who calls Cassie "Herophile" is and the origin of the Pythia's powers; we learn more about Pritkin's past, the motivations of the Silver Circle; and, just what Mircea and Cassie truly feel. Cassie finally accepts the responsibility as Pythia, and makes alliances to protect herself and the timeline. Now that these things are tied up, the plot should be able to focus on the coming "war." Though book 2 was a disappointment, this makes up for it. I will read Curse the Dawn (Cassandra Palmer, Book 4) and have even ordered Midnight's Daughter (Dorina Basarab, Dhampir, Book 1) to see how she handles a story with a different protagonist. Recommended.