by Richard Gleaves
Having enjoyed the first two books of this series, I really did have to finish the trilogy. Oddly, it seems to have become tradition for me to read one of the books each Halloween! Very fitting for the theme of the story.
This one opens with what I could see had to be a nightmare sequence, but how much of it was dream and how much reflection on the real situation? That isn't given away right away.
The second book had left the situation in a mess and I have to admit, I couldn't imagine how the author was going to untangle it all. However, slowly, one strand at a time, the various convoluted happenings took form in the early chapters until it all began to make sense.
Several chapters in the middle were devoted to giving back story on Agathe. While I found these slow reading, the information did help see where her character was coming from. There is a lot of artistic license taken on the original Headless Horseman tale, but that's to be expected.
I had mixed feelings about the book as a whole. Sometimes I was caught up in the action and other times I felt it went too far afield of believability, considering I was reading a ghost story! The one thing that really took me out of the story was an inaccurate use of tarot cards, changed to fit the story. I figure if an author is going to use something like that as a device, they should read at least one book on the meanings and use them as they are supposed to be! Otherwise they could invent their own divination system, like the cards used in the Thieves World series.
The other thing that didn't work was inconsistency in the villain's behavior. Once incident in particular at the lighthouse was completely out of character and struck me as a lazy way to get out of a tight situation. Also the townspeople don't react much to widespread murder and with enough shooting incidents in the U.S. to show how people really react in recent history, it just felt neglected.
Mostly the ending resolved things, though a bit at the very end felt insufficiently related and just thrown in as a jumping off point for another series within the same world. I'm done though. The supernatural world built through this series didn't quite work for me, although I did enjoy Jason's story for the most part.