I've really enjoyed Kage Baker's fantasy stories; reading The Bird of the River was bittersweet since it is the last. Although set in the same world, all the characters are new, although they mention people involved in the other books. It's on a bit of a smaller scale; the story stays with the boat sailing up the river, concentrating on Eliss, the orphan finding her place in the society on the boat. Eliss learns to see clearly, first because of her role as river observer, trained to identify any snags under the water, but she also looks at Krelan, another new hire with a dubious background, at the captain, who is certainly more than he looks like, and with effort, at her younger brother, whose needs and home may be different from her own.
The setting and characters are still wonderful and delicious, although I did miss a giant blow-up at the end. There is still a climax, but it is local to our characters. A-