In this outing, Our Much Abused Heroine gets a note from her Story Weaver Moon Man asking her to come. She goes. Illusion, deceit, ambush, traps and several betrayals later, Yelena drops in to help rescue her Dad. There are a number of predictable elements (her brother doesn't trust her, Marrok sells them out 'cause he's a deluded idiot, First Magician keeps being "irrationally" ridiculous until we find out it's not irrational or ridiculous, she's just being evil). There are some interesting developments (a little more development of the Commander, a little bit more about Just What Has Been Happening to pubescent magicians in Ixia, finally, an explanation for Valek's anti-magic).
I was wondering how on earth Yelena (or anyone or any group of people) had a chance of defeating blood magic enhanced First Magician, but figured it probably wasn't going to be raw power, given how things had gone with Guyan and the predecessors of the Sandseeds. And indeed, it was not. Nice little elegant wrap up, complete with explaining the source of the magic power. It would be interesting to know the source of new souls (reincarnation?) -- from the power net to which they will return? Or elsewhere? Or both? If this is a closed system, the more people there are alive at once, the less magic there is to go 'round, until at some point, there would be none left (sort of like that creepy substance-of-we-feeling from Doris Lessing's books). But if new souls come from elsewhere, the net should (in theory) get stronger over time.
It's not easy to know where Snyder could go with this series next. Yelena has not necessarily maxed out on power, but she's passed her master's test. OTOH, there's a lot of room for development of the relationship between Ixia and Sitia, and her position as Liaison is perfect for working on that storyline.