Longer, spoiler-heavy reaction:
I was feeling a little ambivalent on the series at first--I thought it was entertaining and beautifully drawn, but lacking something. And, in general, I guess I'm not a fan of conflicts that go worldwide, for the lack of a better phrasing?
But then those last few issues happened and pretty much changed my perspective on the series entirely.
I didn't see Justin being Phaistos coming at all, for example. And it wasn't one of those twists that's thrown in for shock value, either--it was given a great amount of foreshadowing throughout the series that was nonetheless subtle enough that the audience wouldn't suspect it (combined with the fact that we assume Phaistos to be dead). One of those twists that makes you want to re-read the series and pick up on all the hints with this newly-acquired knowledge in mind. It was masterfully done, in other words.
Speaking of Phaistos, his story was horrifying. This series touched on a couple of my absolute biggest fears--being buried alive was one (though separate from Phaistos's story), and experiencing absolute nothingness with your mind intact was another. And he was in the core of the earth...the claustrophobic images of him digging his way out didn't help either brrrrr.
But yeah, the ending itself...I knew it was either going to be bittersweet or a downer (it's a series with graphic violence aimed at adults, so there's little hope of a happy ending), and even pondered the possibility of Dara dying, but I didn't really know how. The ending couldn't have been more fitting--Dara's arc coming to full circle where it began, with her house and family, that haunting final image of her burning up along with the sword...
I read this late into the night, so it really stuck with me.
Great series. Not an all-time favorite, but recommended.