I powered through the last five disks of The Will of the Empress, because my will was most definitely flagging and I knew if I didn't keep going ... I'd never finish. This book kicked into gear around Disk 10 -- and some (but not enough) adventuring began. There wasn't even much of Pierce's "girls kick butt" action here. The final smackdown between good mages and the evil Empress (the one with the Will) was really more of a mental one. The music worked particularly well to build momentum in the last chapters, as it turned into an exciting, galloping motif.
Tamora Pierce's deliberate narration actually revved up a little bit in the final bits of storytelling, but her pacing seemed to me to be really odd, slightly unnerving to listen to choice. Ultimately, I can't like it.
But, as far as I'm concerned, too much of a whole lot of nothing occurred before the end and I could not concur with my colleague who nominated this. Yes, even Harry Potter dragged when Harry, Ron and Hermione were out in the wilderness, but at least their endless conversations about where to look next were leavened with a visit with the purely evil Voldemort and a minion or two.
One of my beloved colleagues nominated this title, calling it "enchanting." Obviously, I didn't find it that way at all, and neither did a third listener on our committee. The rest of the committee hasn't chimed in yet. The nominator now wishes to withdraw her nomination -- which is something we are not sure that we can do until we begin deliberations in January -- but I'm urging her to stick by her opinions, and defend this title to the death! After all, I'm very curious to hear some particulars on what made it enchanting. Who knows, she might convince me!
Soon to be moving onto another Will ... Shakespeare. Recorded Books has stopped sending me cassettes and CDs, so I'm borrowing from my library to keep the tape player going. And, as of this fiscal year, we're not buying cassettes anymore, so I'm having to delve into the backlist from the first half of the year for titles on tape.