I can't believe it's been a year and a half since I picked this series up and they inspired me to start writing this blog. I've had a blast with Beddor's version of Wonderland and the stories that have come from such an amazing place. Well, as the last book in the series, let's see if the ending is anything near as good as the beginning and middle.
Imagination has run dry in Wonderland. Both practitioners of White and Black Imagination have lost their powers with the destruction of the Heart Crystal and Wonderland has been overrun by King Arch and his forces from the Borderlands. Alyss, Queen of Wonderland, must protect what's left of her kingdom and it's people, but her allies are slim and her enemies are numerous. Her only choice is to ally herself with her old nemesis, Redd Heart. But Arch is confident in his abilities to take control and even the oracle caterpillars don't have much to say in Alyss's favor. Alyss must cling to her beloved Dodge, her protectors Homburg Molly and Hatter Madigan, and what few forces she has left to reclaim her throne and see the end of Arch.
This book has great set up for the final battle. Not only does Alyss have to deal with Arch and Redd, but also the Clubs, who have taken the opportunity to seize control. The political side of the book is represented pretty well. It shows the consequences of war, not just for soldiers, but for civilians as well. The action is also, as always, very well done. I don't know what it is about these books that makes me enjoy and stick to the battle segments like nothing else really can. The intrigue comes from all angles as well. Not only does Alyss have to deal with traitors, but also Arch as his ambition causes him to become nearsighted. It all blends together really nicely and it's just the kind of writing that we've come to love in this series.
The subtext of the previous books are in this one as well. The question of "imagination" and what it is and how it can help or hurt or what it means to someone who wields it. It asks some serious questions that will get you thinking of imagination itself as being a kind of power and what that power means for those who wield it. These are the kinds of ideas and subtext that most YA novels wish they could pull off but don't always manage it. I really appreciated it about this series and just another reason why I can't recommend this series enough to people.
Now, here more than in the other installments, I have some nitpicks. I wasn't crazy about the Homburg Molly subplot (mostly because I find her teenage angst to be annoying) but she does help out occasionally and makes herself useful, so there was that. It also got a bit rushed in places, trying to tie together every last loose string before the series ended, but that's a final installment for you. But I liked the conclusion of Dodge's revenge story, Redd is a star as always, Arch was perfectly detestable and I loved hating him. All this leading to a climax that, while not quite what I hoped it would be, I did feel set things up and ended the story just how we could have wanted to.
I just can't help it, I'm a sucker for this series. The characters are wonderful, the ideas are imaginative perfection...I just love it! As the concluding book of the series, I'm glad it ended where it did and I'll always appreciate Beddor's world. While it is, perhaps, the most flawed of the series, I'm going ahead and putting this one along with its others in the Shelf of Recommendation....because it's my blog and I can do what I want.
Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Please make sure to Follow Midnight Readings for instant updates. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer
Next Time: Maybe the Dragon taking the young girl isn't as bad as we thought....