[I received a copy of this book through Netgalley.]
The conclusion to this trilogy, and a satisfying one, although I found the ending a little too quick and predictable.
One of the things I liked here is that we got more information about the world around the RUSA. Not a lot, of course, the trilogy’s aim wasn’t to paint a full geopolitical portrait; nevertheless, I always appreciate it when sci-fi/dystopian settings take into account not only to focus country, but also the others. This shakes off the ‘pocket universe’ feeling that is very often prevalent in this genre. In fact, it’d almost deserve a spin-off so that the author can have fun with what’s happening around and outside the RUSA.
Like in the previous books, I also enjoyed the family relationships. Benson and Harrison could’ve been awful to each other, even when thrown in the same predicament, with constant jealousy and resentment. While there were some tensions (it was unavoidable), though, they embraced each other’s respective existences, as a discovery of the brother they didn’t know they had, instead of embracing negative feelings. Which was great. And which leads me to another aspect I enjoyed: the toned-down romance. Yes, there is a romantic subplot, however:
- It’s not the main focus;
- It doesn’t cause the characters involved do stupid things and make stupid decisions because LUUUUURVE (I’m so tired of those silly romance plots where the world is ending but the main character is still too busy pondering which of the guys/girls s/he’s in love with);
- I mentioned this in my review about volume 2 already: when Benson is concerned, I liked seeing such a predictable romance -not- happen. Having everyone find their Twue Wuv or whatever would’ve been too saccharine for me. The focus here is FAMILY, not romantic love, and especially not romantic love as the be-all and end-all and the Highest Form of Love Ever.
Bonus point for Jarrod’s arc. That character was a POS and I hated his guts, but you know what, that’s GOOD, because it means I cared. He helped emphasize one end of the spectrum (the other end being the corrupt government), with his ‘a means to an end’ attitude and terrorist ways, including what he roped Geoffrey into doing. Who does that to a kid, spewing BS such as ‘your sister would be so proud of you’? Yeah. Exactly.
Now, to expand a little on my comments about the ending:
- ‘Too quick’: that is, compared to all the reversal of fortunes previously encountered.
- Predictable: there were quite a few more twists in this instalment, with the last secrets being revealed. However, as a result, the ending felt somewhat… uneventful? As if it was indeed the last sprint, but one that led to no more surprises. Don’t mistake me, it’s a good conclusion, only just a little too well packaged and ‘clean’ and neatly tied, for a series that was grittier than a lot of YA series out there… so I guess I expected something more bittersweet, with some last twist, maye?
- Some parts were anti-climactic, like what happened with the president.
- I gather that the Destroyer is gone, buuuuut… Like THAT? Now that was disappointing, all the more since we didn’t get to see him do much in the first half of the novel. Alright, as a villain, he was ‘too much’ anyway. Yet that end felt almost… comical? And it jars with the darker tones of the trilogy, because deep down, Domino is a broken human being—he was already deranged before, but he was also treated like an object, stuffed with mechanical parts, brought back from the brink of death instead of being let go with dignity, and generally it was as if everybody discarded his humanity from the beginning, never giving him any chance at all. (I’m not saying a redemption arc would’ve been good here—he was too far gone. Just… not -that- kind of ending.)
Conclusion: 3.5 stars. In spite of my criticisms, I did enjoy this last volume.