Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Angry Robot
Length: 384 pages
Source: eGalley via NetGalley
The thrilling conclusion to the breakout Malediction Trilogy by Goodreads Choice finalist Danielle L. Jensen.
Cécile and Tristan have accomplished the impossible, but their greatest challenge remains: defeating the evil they have unleashed upon the world.
As they scramble for a way to protect the people of the Isle and liberate the trolls from their tyrant king, Cécile and Tristan must battle those who’d see them dead. To win, they will risk everything. And everyone.
But it might not be enough. Both Cécile and Tristan have debts, and they will be forced to pay them at a cost far greater than they had ever imagined.
Protagonists: As with many final books in series, our heroes have come a long way and grown a lot since the beginning of the first installment. Céline is now a fairly powerful witch who's not afraid to enter into the line of fire to save her race and those she loves. Tristan is no longer the pompous and self-loathing troll he once was and is now a thoughtful and wise leader who will also do what he must to protect humans and those who stand with him. Throughout this book there's still quite a bit of growth left for them to go through as they fight off threats from multiple fronts and try to hold on to hope even when all may seem futile. I have to say that while I liked these characters in the first book, as the series went on I really grew to love them, they're flawed and damaged in places but they learn to over come or subvert those flaws in the pursue of the greater good.
Romance: Since this is the last book in the trilogy there isn't all that much romance, or I should say that with no apparent threats keeping them apart there isn't all that much to the romance. While there is a bot of romantic drama here and there, there isn't all that much to tell. In this book Céline and Tristan have to make some tough choices and hard sacrifices, not only as it pertains to the people they are trying to protect, but as it pertains to their marriage. That being said though, even though the romance is a much smaller sub-plot than it has been in this series, it's still very interesting to me and I'm still heavily invested in it. Plus, since there's less of a focus on romance there's more of a focus on the kick-ass plot and world-building.
World-Building: This book picks up pretty much right after the previous one. The barrier keeping trolls in has been broken, The Winter Queen has sent her message, and now Tristan, Céline, and their friends need to go to war to help protect the humans on the Isle of Light from the trolls that would see harm and enslavement come to them. Pretty much the entirely of this book is about the war that began at the end of Hidden Huntress. Though it's not really a focal point, we do learn more about Arcadia and the Fae that live there. Tristan and Cécile both have debts to the Winter and Summer rulers respectively, and since this is the final book in this series you bet that the complications surrounding those debts come up in a big way and cause unforeseen consequences.
Predictability: So if I had to pick a book in this series that's the least predictable it'd probably be this one. On the whole the bigger vague questions as to where this series will end I, for the most part guessed, but as always it's those smaller and more specific details that are the real surprises in books. For instance, it's been proven that this author isn't afraid to kill of characters, even those that may seem important to the story, so logically I assumed that at least one character would die, but it's who that death belongs to, and mild spoiler alert: more than one person dies, that's the real surprise. The foreshadowing for this book, nay this series, is fantastic. There's never too much to clue you in to those larger plot twists, but at the same time, once they happen it's not to hard to see the little seeds that lead up to that particular twist.
Ending: So as this book and series was drawing to a close, part of me felt like, somewhere in the back of my mind, that this series might not truly be the end. That maybe this author has a spin-off series in mind. As everything lead up to that final climax I still thought that maybe there was possibly another story left to tell in this world. The grand finale of this book was spectacular. Thing definitely didn't quite go the way I was expecting them to, and in the end I felt as though that last final climax was the perfect way to end the conflict for this series, and then came the most emotional, for lack of a more descriptive term, epilogue I've ever read. I won't spoil anything, but I will say that my thoughts that there may be more left to discover in this world, is most likely wrong (I'll give it 98% because I'm sure if the author wanted to she could probably come up with another story in this world, even if it didn't feature any of these characters.) The ending of this book and series very much ties up all loose ends. And so this epic tale comes to a close.
While I cannot speak for anyone else's opinions, mine is that this was the perfect ending to this series. For me there are no more lingering questions and I'm excited to see what comes next from this phenomenal author!