Friday, November 28, 2014


by Sarah Rees Brennan

Powerful love comes with a price. Who will be the sacrifice?

Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.

Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.

This final book in the Lynburn Legacy is a wild, entertaining ride from beginning to shocking end.

My Reaction:
This series wasn't really for me, I guess.  I liked the first book the best of the three.  The second was disappointing, but I decided to stick with it through the third installation for the sake of the  conclusion.  Sometimes I had to talk myself into continuing with this third book.  I'm glad it's the last in the series, because if there had been a fourth, maybe I would've just made up my own conclusion and saved some time.

My usual damning-with-faint-praise reaction applies here: This wasn't an absolutely awful book, but I don't feel persuaded to sing praises.  The "teen romance" element was ok, but it's repetitive, with plenty of forced drama/misunderstanding/angst.  (Have you read any romance novels ever?  Then you know the sort of thing.)  Then there's this whole big Magic Plot that, honestly, I could hardly have cared less about, by the end.  I was interested to see if the "shocking end" would turn out better than expected.  ...It didn't. 

When the best thing the book has going for it is the romance-- and the romance is torturously drawn out, interspersed with so much "other stuff" that falls flat-- it's not the most satisfying or engaging read ever, that's all. 

Specific Tidbits (with SPOILERS):
--  I'd forgotten much of the Magic Plot from the first two books, but the beginning does a pretty good job of filling you in.  I still would never recommend reading this one if you hadn't already read the first two.

--  I still don't find the characters' jokes funny.  They're always laughing and grinning at one another, apparently enchanted by their own witty banter, but I can't quite feel like joining in. 

--  Kami wears a skirt with frills when she goes on her "rescue Jared" mission.  Yes, I know that Kami loves skirts and dresses and feminine clothes, and that's fine, but who wears a frilly skirt on a rescue mission?!

--  "She felt the shape of his mouth against her hair and was amazed by how crazy he was: he was smiling."  ...How can she feel a smile on her head, through her hair?  That seems unlikely.  Hear a smile in his voice, sure, but feel a smile against your scalp?  I'm doubtful.

--  The one thing I find most appealing about this whole series is the concept of Kami and Jared's psychic bond.  It's one of those things that could never work out well in real life, but in fiction, it's so cozy!  "He had been closer to her than if they slept cheek to cheek on the same pillow every night, closer than her own thoughts, for their whole lives."  In a fantasy/romance novel, that's pretty swoon-worthy stuff.  In real life?  Um, no.  I'll keep (some of) the contents of my mind private, please.

--  At some point, it becomes completely unbelievable to me that Jared wouldn't understand how Kami feels about him (and vice versa).  That point, for me, came fairly early in this book.

--  The "blood brothers" spell scene?  Yuck.

--  Kami's weird obsession with grabbing handfuls of Jared's shirt(s) continues into this book.  (Seriously.  Just about any time they kiss, she's grabbing up a handful of the dude's shirt.  She's going to stretch them out!!)

--  I'll confess:  I did some eye-rolling during the scene in which Kami's dad shoots Rob.  Kami's excessive shock that Daddy Dearest has actually fired a gun!  Jon's inability to aim the first shot at Rob's head instead of his leg, which would've solved so many problems!  Oh, and when Jon laments the fact that he messed up, Kami replies that he didn't mess up.  "'Not being ready to kill someone isn't screwing up.'" ...Well.  When the someone in question is an evil sorcerer who has already killed people and is demanding human sacrifices and kind of terrorizing your whole family... :o/ It's fine to comfort your father in those circumstances, since blaming him will only make him feel worse, but how is killing Rob with magic (which-- spoiler alert!-- Kami does herself at the end of the book) any different from killing him with a bullet to the head?  (Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I get the distinct impression that the author would not have been okay with Kami killing Rob with a gun.  Guns are bad, you know.  Killing with magic is... Well, it's different, okay?!)

--  Jon (Kami's dad) to Kami: "I didn't achieve you.  You are the greatest achievement of your own life."  Okay...  True, parents can't take full credit for how a high-school-age child has turned out-- and I'm all for teens understanding that who they are is not entirely dependent on their parents (particularly in cases where maybe the parents aren't setting the greatest examples)-- but this rubbed me the wrong way.  Maybe because it undervalues the contribution that good parents have made in getting their kids to the point that they are good, decent young adults.

--  After Kami's mom gives the evil/bad/"wrong side of history" (to use a phrase that I really, really hate) sorcerers food poisoning, they all sneak out of Aurimere and sort of meander home.  Like, to their own home.  Which is weird.  Where's the sense of urgency with these people?  It's a perfect example of one of my pet peeves with this series.  It's a very strange story where people are supposedly in grave danger, but nothing feels remotely important (most of the time) in comparison with the teen romances.  "Whelp, we've just escaped from the not-very-friendly sorcerers led by that one guy who kinda wants to kill us.  But they've got a case of food poisoning, so we can totally for sure go home (where everyone knows we live) and sleep safe and sound in our own beds.  I'm pretty sure they'll be sick for the rest of the night.  We should be fine until tomorrow.  Lights out! Nighty-night, John-boy!"  (Later that night, their house is set ablaze with Magic Fire™.  The family narrowly escape with their lives.)

--  "The first thing to do was slip away from her father, who might have questions about why she kept insisting on going back to the lair of ultimate evil.  Kami saw why so many teenagers who had adventures in books were interestingly tragic orphans.  Parents were a real buzzkill, adventure-wise."  Heh.  Yeah, but that didn't seem to be as much of an issue in the first two books.

--  I think I might have forgotten something from the first or second book, but is there something keeping Kami and her friends and family from just leaving this cursed town?  Once her mother's turned into a statue, sure, it may be too late, but it seems kind of silly to stay in a town where your life and the lives of your young siblings are at risk.  Why?  Because Kami wants to be a Heroine and save the whole town?  Why can't they all leave, in that case?

--  Rusty's death seems so utterly pointless.  Manipulative.  Also, did Rusty not realize that giving Rob a willing sacrifice would make him more powerful?  I know he thought he was buying time/protecting the others until the equinox ritual with the twin pools, but why couldn't they have just left town for a few days, instead?

--  The stunning revelation that Rob planned to destroy the whole town wasn't quite so shocking as it was meant to be, I think.

--  "Kami read the article aloud to her family and friends as they stood all together in Room 31B, Kami's newspaper office."  ...How embarrassing.  Captive audience, huh?

--  When Holly and Angela have their first kiss, there's this description of how their respective lipsticks/lip glosses "interact"/taste/whatever.  And I think it's supposed to be edgy or something, because, ooh, "girl kiss" and they're both wearing lipstick/gloss which is so interesting because guys don't wear make-up, and it's all so new and exciting-- but... Why are they even wearing lipstick/gloss on a day like this?  They're preparing to battle for their lives and the survival of their entire town.  I certainly wouldn't be bothering to put on lipstick.  Maybe I'm not girly enough to understand these things.  I often put on a modest/safe/non-clashy shade of lipstick if I'm going out in public, but that's on a normal day.  I feel pretty confident that if I'm ever getting dressed for battle with sorcerers, make-up won't be a priority.  (But that's just me.)

--  Angered by Lillian (if I recall correctly), Rob announces, "If you're not with me, you're against me."  ...Is that supposed to be a super-subtle political jibe?  Or is it more in reference to the Bible?  Or what?

--  Poor Ash seems badly treated all through these books (though at least he gets to live to see the end of the trilogy).  In this book, he loses his father.  Now, admittedly, his father's not a good person, and he's known that for a while, by the end, but that's still not an easy thing to come to terms with.  He learns that his father wanted to murder and lay ruin to a town full of people.  Then Kami disintegrates the man.  And now, a few months later, Ash is perfectly fine with everything, I guess.  It's too easy.  (Like a lot of things in these books.)

--  I feel a bit patronized at times, reading this trilogy.  Maybe that was just me.

--  The very end?  Predictable, but right.  Though I still feel like Kami and Jared are a bit too dense to be believed-- at least as far as each other are concerned.  They should've figured that whole thing out long before the end.  Of course, since this is a romance, the romantic leads have to be bull-headed, star-crossed, blinded, confused, or whatever else it takes to keep them apart until the final page.  It's understood.