Posted on July 19, 2011 by alanajoli
Available from Amazon.com
How do I start a review of the final book in a series that I love, which had me sobbing for about three chapters of the conclusion? As it turns out, by avoiding the issue:
I feel sorry for Prince Armand.
There, I said it. Three kick-butt heroines of the whole series and this review starts off with some compassion for the guy who is always first in line to get cursed, kidnapped, and just generally gets the short end of the deal. In a series about princesses who don’t need to be rescued, someone else has to be — and once again, nice-guy prince Armand (who seems reasonably capable) suffers some of the very first consequences to evil becoming a threat in the kingdom of Lorindar.
This time, the threat starts close to home, with Snow White, who has been set up for this kind of fall from the beginning of the series, overstretches her magical abilities and ends up releasing a demon from her mother’s magic mirror. Worse, the demon corrupts Snow herself, meaning that our three heroines are no longer on the same team.
Just like Willow in Season 5 Buffy, Snow makes a tremendous bad guy. She’s scary. She’s powerful. And she’s heartbreaking: we’ve loved her for three books, and just like Danielle and Talia, we want her to be rescued.
But before she gets possessed, Snow manages to put a little of herself into a new body: Gerta, the imaginary sister she’d created in her childhood becomes a real-life human, not quite as talented as Snow, but aware of how her sister thinks, and willing to help Danielle and Talia confront Snow. Even if that confrontation leads to Gerta’s — or Snow’s — death.
Hines tackles all of the unresolved story threads from previous books, including the fate of Danielle’s son Jakob, whose birth was influenced by fairy magic, and Talia’s unrequited love for Snow. I’m sure that readers will have differing opinions on the way the latter issue plays out, but I found the solution that Hines came to satisfying — and I love that, while the series is clearly over, he’s left room to explore more of the world he’s expanded over these four books. And while I love the girl-power element that’s been at the heart of this series, I’m tempted to say I’d like to see an expansion on that theme into a more diversely gendered set of heroes.
Because, after all, I really do feel bad for Armand.
The review copy of this book was provided to the reviewer by the publisher.
Review by Alana Abbott