When you're playing a video game, especially role playing games, usually before the final boss you're going to do every side quests before you proceed to finish the game. These side quests are usually important for character developments, more info on the world-building, and gaining all the necessary weapons and power to make the confrontation in the end either easier or more satisfying; The Skull Throne encapsulated this situation.
This book doesn't have a lot of main plot development, almost everything in it is just a setup for the final entry in the series, at least that's how I see it. I'm mostly okay with this storytelling direction, especially when the beginning and the last section of the book was really well written. The last section of this book in particular is the best in the series so far. Also, almost every character's development made more sense and the most important thing, only one flashback chapter. Yes, you heard that right, only one flashback chapter on a new character, Aisha, and I have to admit that it was great. Do note the word 'almost' because every positive thing in this book doesn't revolve around Leesha, at least not for me.
The middle section was where it fell short for me, because of again, Leesha. I honestly don't know what Brett is trying to achieve with her character here, her development is too different and illogical compared to how she started in the first book. I hope I don't sound like a broken record here but Leesha's character development truly hurt the quality of the series for me, it's been that way since the second book, and it's still the same here.
There's around two hundred pages of soap opera drama in the middle that provide close to zero importance to the main plot. By soap opera, I seriously mean that the story revolves around who get to marry who, who get to fuck who, who get to bang Leesha from behind and left their sperm dropped to the floor. It's been this way ever since the second book, it got worse in the third book, eased down a bit here but it's still the same situation.
Anyone who followed my reviews would know that I have a reading pace of around 150-200 pages each day; even during weekdays where I have a full time job to attend to. The first and the last 150 pages of this book both took me a day to read, but the remaining 300 pages in the middle took me five days to read because it bored me.
Leesha started to redeem herself at the end of this book, which is good, but I can't deny the feeling that this series could've been cut down into four book instead of five; in culmination up to now, there's at least 600 pages of unnecessary content that hurt the quality of the series for me.
That said, every other character, especially Rojer, received much better treatment when it come to their development. Also, even though the true main characters doesn't have a lot of spotlight due to plot reason, and there's a few demon fighting, Brett has provided something that has been missing for me ever since the second book, a sense of danger for the character. I do, however, hope that the last book would make the demons scarier because right now, everyone is practically superhuman and the demons are a joke.
The Skull Throne is another good installment in the Demon Cycle series, in my opinion it's still a better book compared to The Daylight War, but it still fall short in comparison to Brett's amazing debut. I can't wait to heed the call of the Core because with this book, everything has been setup for the big conclusion. All that remains is to see whether Brett could deliver the conclusion that this series deserves or not, and I'm going to find out about it soon.