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The Elders, the bigger, more lethal for of others, are on the march. What, if any humans will they allow to live on their continents? Lakeside Courtyard becomes a source of research for them as they observe how Simon Wolfgard governs and deals with the human pack Meg Corbyn has drawn around them. Then Lieutenant Montgomery’s brother Jimmy arrives and threatens the life of every human in Thaisia…
When I originally started reading this I thought this was the 5th of 6 books about Simon and Meg, that colored my thoughts the entire time reading the book and then it totally threw a bomb in my review to learn this is in fact the final chapter of the Lakeside Courtyard’s story. Expectations play a huge part in how we feel as we walk away from a book, amped too high and you can’t help but feel disappointed and no expectations make an okay book stellar. If this were the 5th of 6 books this is a big resounding 10 stars, but as the final book in the series I can’t give it more than 4 stars… as I was asked to rate the book itself and not the series I have left my original 5 star rating.
It’s time to lay it all out there…
I thought Jimmy was a fascinating problem for the Lakeside Courtyard and was paired perfectly with the watching Elders. It was like dropping a torch on a keg of light fluid where a barrel of water normally sits. He should have been dealt with quickly, silently and without a fuss but that was not possible. This series has always included this undertone of politics and that doesn’t quit now despite the human governments willingness to start playing ball with the others.
What makes it totally possible for Jimmy to pose such a threat to the courtyard is that each and every characters stands out as a genuine personality. I don’t feel like any of the characters are fake or redundant. They each have a part to play and go about interacting with Jimmy and the world as if they are living their lives. This feeling of genuineness has been a serious plus for the series as a whole but no more important than this book where the threat isn’t what the humans will do to the Others but what the elders will do to the humans. For example, Miss Twyla frankly told Elliot all about about Sierra & Cyrus, warning him and the Others in general. Her personality caused her to do this and not because the story needed to go this way.
The plethora of characters has always been something I enjoyed about the series, especially now where we have so many different people we can check up on. Up to now these minor characters have made the world feel real and legitimate and given us a sense of the larger world. Now we see that they are all trying to adjust to the world with Elders in it and so we see what has been threatened by Jimmy. I liked the letters being sent and the people who send back to Lakeside and so we get a glimpse of them, but these characters have always been used to build anticipation about the relationship between Meg and Simon.
While I love and adore the interactions between our MCs like Meg licking Simon and the bike prey play I think its safe to say everyone wants to see these two take their relationship to the next level. About midway there is this dialogue about the future of Simon and Meg that hints at different options. This would be fine for a 5th of 6 books story, but for the final story this is not enough. I would say we are pointed in the right direction but we’ve always been pointed correctly, there has never been a love triangle in sight! We wanted so see these two seal the deal and what happens while conclusive in a way does not exactly satisfy… this is when you wish there is less of these minor characters and more Meg and Simon. This is what caused my discrepancy between being a 5th book and a final book.
Otherwise this is plotted perhaps the best of all the Others books, it is dense, well developed, arises naturally from character and motivations. I mean writing and plot wise it is beautiful! Every single big event is spot on and I love the conflict and challenge implicit in this plot particularly for both Simon and Meg but as well as all the Others and the human pack. The writing quality is the best it’s ever been:
“With Blair’s jaws clamped around the base of its neck, the turkey’s head swung like a metronome and the turkey toes bumped along on the sidewalk. Blair reached the corner. He looked at a woman standing near the crosswalk, then pointed a front paw at the “walk” button on the pole and made a sound. Meg wasn’t sure what the sound was supposed to mean, since Blair had a mouthful of turkey neck, but the woman pushed the crosswalk button and received a milder sound in response.”
This is what I love about this series! The climax of Jimmy’s story is so spot on from the meat to Meg’s vision. The tension is right where it should be and readers will ride the wave until the end. The author seemed to really make a huge effort on this one and it certainly paid off. If I never anticipated Simon and Meg as a couple that ending scene would totally work for me, but my expectations were much higher than that…
Don’t think though that this isn’t a book well worth picking up and picking up ASAP!! It totally is! What are you waiting for? Go order it!!
BOTTOM LINE: A strong end to my favorite paranormal series of all time!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.