By Cynthia Bujnicki
The mist is rising and killing those who cross its path. The rebellion is hanging by a thread. Mirabella has left her sister to join Katherine for the sake of the island. However, the dead Queens whisper dark thoughts into Katherine’s head. However, together, these three young queens are the only thing standing between the island and destruction.
What an incredible conclusion. There were so many ways this series could have played out, and that is part of what made this story so invigorating. The series has been both unique and unpredictable, keeping the reader glued to the pages and at the edge of their seats. This novel is the embodiment of all of Blake’s strengths as a writer in the way she can keep up that momentum and keep the story moving forward. It builds up steadily, laying down tension and action to drive the story forward. There is also the added element of mystery that lends itself to the story building. By unveiling the dark secrets of the island’s history, Blake creates some compelling mystery for the narrative, adding more tension to the story, and giving the characters more to contend with than just the overarching plot.
Then there are, of course, the characters. The best thing about these characters is the fact that they are so complex. No character is just black or white, and that is what makes them so great and what makes then the driving force of the story. Katherine is neither the villain nor the hero in the pages yet somehow manages to be both. She is a tragic character given her past, giving her a sympathetic narrative. No one wants to hate Katherine, nor can they blame her considering the evil forces that reside within her. Given the events of the previous novel, it is easy for the reader to feel for her. The same goes for Arsinoe. She is a strong character, harsher than sweet Katherine, who only wants to please everyone and have friends. Arsinoe does not care what people think; she only wants to keep the people she loves safe, in any way possible. She has all the attitude and the strength to back it up, making her the perfect foil for Katherine.
The characters jump off the pages and give the story the life it needs. They balance each other out perfectly and work together to deal with the mystery of the past that haunts them all. That is what makes this such an intense finale, the fact that the story wraps up nicely, giving the readers non-stop action accompanied by countless unexpected twists and turns. (★★★★☆)