I had the very same opinion, except for the purple prose point - I felt that while occasionally plodding, it wasn't too decorative, and was direct enough to advance the plot efficiently. I loved the first part of Tigana, but from there it just became this difficult to endure caricature fantasy. SPOILER: Tigana I initially really enjoyed the setting and historical influence and also the character of Tomasso, Sandre's nephew, to be terrific, and the build-up for Sandre himself to have whet my expectations. Also, the twists and turns of this part were truly unexpected and exciting, and made me think that this was going to be an extraordinary novel. Then there was the switch to Dionora, a character I found to be rather plain, and somewhat annoying, as her character was oft-opined as having a very delightful personality, enough so that she could captivate Brandon's interest, but during her dialog interactions she comes off as banal and somewhat antithetical to what we are lead to expect. Her situation was interesting though, and I was eager to see what happened with Alessan's group, so I plowed on. But then I found, that while the initial return to Alessan's group was very awesome indeed, pretty soon it turned painful. The characters had what was very much a David Eddings flavor or comradery, with the supposed wit of their rapport, and the fierce grins and other annoying behaviorisms that grow tiresome very quickly. The characters are pretty static throughout the series - until the end. And the story kept switching to minor characters, given a brief time to narrate who they were and throw them some background which was generic fantasy. These diversions could have been an interesting departure from standard fantasy narrative, but the characters were so absolutely boring, and I had already seen them so many times in other fantasy books, or games. One of the most egregious departures actually felt like a Zelda side quest (the hilarious fight with the Others, where a bunch of farmers, who bore the tradition of a Secret Order, were fighting the ultimate battle for existence, pitting their mighty farmer mettle against what essentially are Boggarts, using the corn as their tools to slay the evil that besets them). It came out of no where, and could be excised without any problem. The only purpose the characters play later on is to fight against Brandin and make him seem uber-super-OMG-powerful. If Gavriel had scaled down Brandin's power, the extreneous characters could have been eliminated altogether, and it still wouldn't have neutered the impact of the scene. Another thing that bothered me was the really stupid deus ex machina that saved Catriana. Gavriel had written this beautiful scene of someone who was willing to sacrifice everything for what she believed in, and made you feel to much for this complex character, and then takes that and assassinates it, undermining the whole point and effect of the scene. It was one of the biggest douchebag moves that Gavriel does in the novel, and he really makes a habit of those. It also simultaneously murders another interesting character - the wizard captured against his will - which added a nuance of complexity to the good guys, and so it was like a one-two punch. Anyway, I found towards the end that despite Dionora remaining a plain and somewhat irritating character, her situation and character easily became the best part of the book. And the ending (not epilogue) was spectacularly executed, almost enough for me to forgive the rest. But the epilogue itself was about as awful as you could get. It reminded me of the epilogue of the final Harry Potter book. Everyone was hooking up, and it was like a pure injection of saccharine.