By Cynthia Ayala
After the loss of her father and a betrayal like no other, Rory is beside herself with grief and anger, hunting for the man she thought she loved, the man she thought loved her. But now Rory’s love for her family is put to the test, and she is ready to make the trip to the Shadowlands and back.
Published July 22, 2014, by Disney-Hyperion, Endless by Kate Brian is the third and final novel in her young adult paranormal series Shadowlands that deals with life after death.
Endless brings the Shadowlands series to an emotional end that continues to barely scrape the surface of Juniper Landing itself. To be fair, this is not a sci-fi series that requires extensive world building, and the logistics of the world are defined very well, but there’s more that could have been done with it. This is her own view of the afterlife, a unique view that does lend itself to be an exciting read, but it doesn’t offer up any spooks other than the fog. There are no monsters hidden around which is probably what made the first novel such a tense and absorbing read, but once the antagonist vanished, the story was left without a monster.
Now, that’s not to say that the story isn’t sinister. The narrative functions to bring out two points-of-view. One is Rory and the second is the mysterious antagonist whose voice is carried out from the second novel. It works because it keeps the reader on edge, but it also does remove some of the tension of the plot regarding Rory and Tristan. They are the two that have the most tension here, and yet the sinister narrative works like a big sign to the reader to let them know Rory is following the wrong trail. It has its pro’s and its cons, and at the end of the day it still retains the suspense because no one knows who the mysterious voice is. There are plenty of red herrings and misdirection, but they don’t suffocate the story. Brian says just enough to create the sense of mystery and keep the reader engaged without taking them out of the plot. So it works as a cohesive piece.
What’s off about the book is the way the author decided to structure the love-triangle. It wasn’t necessary to be explored and for a moment felt like pure “fan-service.” It didn’t hurt the story, but it also didn’t add anything to it either other than to build up some romantic tension. The story already has enough tension and mystery to serve the plot to the added love-triangle was just another bore. And it’s short lived—very short lived, to the point that it feels like an afterthought. And it also didn’t serve well in the character department world. Yes, these are teenagers, and yes their lives are crumbling around them, and two of them are heartbroken, but to fall into the YA cliché of putting two brokenhearted people together and then not even bothering to explore it doesn’t help create some measure of depth for the characters. They are dead and have responsibilities to guide the dead and the way they do that, how they function, that makes them complex and have depth. The love triangle, it just wasn’t worth mentioning.
At the end of the day, it’s a rich story that starts in one direction and ends flipped on its head, in the best way possible. So it’s worth a read. (★★★☆☆ | B-)
|Pub Date: July 22nd, 2014||Page count: 304pp||Age Range: 14 – 17|
|List Price: $17.99|
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