After the weak middle volume in the trilogy, I wasn’t sure that I’d revisit the final one, but I’m glad I did. This book gets back to what made the first one so interesting: A mix of YA tropes, epistolary creativity, and moral complexity. It was self-indulgent at times, but it earned it by not shying away from the horror of the conflicts its teenage characters were the heroes of.
This book has a lot going for it: Good worldbuilding, an interesting “disaster dominoes” plot, and a good audiobook performance. I love the first book in this series, so I ought to like this book too! I did enjoy listening to it, but I just don’t find the characters as interesting, and it feels more like it uses YA cookie cutter archetypes than the last book. Enjoyable, but not my favorite… and leaving me wondering about whether to finish out the trilogy.
This is my third time reading this book—I couldn’t resist coming back to it for the “epistolary novel” square of my library’s “Books and Bites Bingo” challenge this year. The print book is amazing, the audiobook manages to adapt a book that shouldn’t be adaptable, and I enjoyed this read as much as the last two. The language and worldbuilding are subtle but effective, it’s morally complex without trying too hard to be, and the characters are a good mix between believable and, well, archetypal characters in a YA novel.