(Originally published on my blog Your Rainy Day Reading List on 4/12/2013)
RECAP: Ethan, the One Who is Two, sacrificed himself at the end of the last book to restore Order to the world. He awakens to find himself in the Otherworld... a land of the dead, but not a heaven or a hell, just a limbo-y, in-between type place. And he's not alone. Here he finds his mother, Aunt Prue (a casualty of the Beautiful Chaos created after Lena's dual claiming), the Greats, and a few others. He quickly learns how to get a message to Lena, and discovers that his fate was altered. He sets off on an adventure through the Otherworld to change that fate, by removing his rewritten/edited to kill him page out of the Caster Chronicles at the Far Keep -- the "good" home of the "good" Keeper Council. ALong his journey, he discovers the Light casting book, the Book of Stars, and to move forward, is required to bring the Gatekeeper the Dark casting book, the Book of Moons, as payment. We all know Abraham Ravenwood, supervillain, has it.
Cut to Lena. For the first time in the series, we enter the mind of someone other than Ethan (kinda funny how it's a four book series with love triangles and supernatural creatures, and the fourth book has alternating perspectives... feels familiar... pulling a Stephenie Meyer are we?). Lena and the Gatlin gang (John Breed, Liv, Link, Amma, Marian, Macon, etc) get Ethan's message and go looking for the book, saving a caged Ridley and taking down Abraham very easily in the process. Then they all merge their powers and help Amma and the Greats pass the book to the Otherworld to get it to Ethan.
Cut back to Ethan, and he enters the Keep to find he must go through a Labyrinth and fight to the death. Apparently, the big bad Abraham was working with even bigger and badder Angelus (remember him from the Far Keep Council???) who has tried to alter his own Mortal fate into a supernatural one, to be special, and hates his own kind so much he wants to destroy them all. So he punishes those who went against his wishes or failed him and in death makes them his slaves. First is Xavier, the Gatekeeper who helps Ethan but struggles with mutations. Second, found in the middle of the labyrinth, is... Sarafine. She's been blinded and chained and forced to fight soul after soul that attempts to get into the keep. Ethan interacts with her, but her hatred of Angelus outweighs her hatred of Ethan and she sacrifices herself to let him get through to defeat the evil Keeper. (Of course, we all know it's because, just like Ridley, Dark casters actually can feel things and she wants to protect Lena in the long run.) Of course, Ethan triumphs over Angelus and returns home -- at the cost of Amma, whose deal with the bokor in Chaos was to trade fates so "her boy" could live. Amma "dies" without having to die and joins the Greats. Everyone else lives happily ever after, all coupled up.
REVIEW: Meh. I like the story. It was great. But there were a few things that irked me. First, Abraham was made a huge bad guy for two books and a short story. As was Hunting. And they both die WAY too easy and all of a sudden, Angelus is the guy behind it all. Granted, we saw at Marian's trial previously that the Council wasn't entirely pure or moral or good, but it just felt like the writers way of making a BIGGER story with a BIGGER conspiracy behind it all.
Other than that, I was impressed by the series as a whole. It kept my attention, made me like the characters, and was relatively original even while using some stock twists and storylines.
Overall, I liked the series quite a bit. :)
Find the last book on Amazon here: Beautiful Redemption.
Welcome to my train of thought. Just a warning, there might be turbulence. I'm a little eccentric, but hopefully you'll find something here that'll make the crazy worth it. Stay tuned for book reviews, ramblings on random things, and all sorts of stuff that tickles my fancy. But keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times. My brain is a scary place!