"Every story has four parts: the beginning, the middle, the almost-ending, and the true ending. Unfortunately, not everyone gets a true ending. Most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, when the situation feels hopeless, but that is where hope is needed the most. Only those who persevere can find their true ending."
This is definitely a review I never thought I'd be writing. I've been fangirling over the Caraval series since an arc landed in my lap in 2016, and I had no reason to believe that Finale would be any less enjoyable for me than Caraval (5 stars from me) and Legendary (4 stars from me). Unfortunately, this one just didn't work for me the way that the other two did, and instead of bashing this book, I'd like to take a few minutes to detail below WHY this book didn't work for me, so that as a reader you can decide for yourself what to think. I do encourage you, if you're a fan of the series, to pick this up for yourself and come to your own conclusion, as my opinion is likely unpopular and in the minority. Caution for minor spoilers below for the previous two books in the series.
Finale picks up in the wake of where Legendary left off. Tella is still pining after Legend, yet playing coy as he visits her in her dreams, and Jacks is still in play, so we have a bonafide love triangle up until the very end of this novel. Unfortunately, this was a big part of my problem with the book. Donatella is such a strong female in the previous novels, and I felt she was reduced to a simple love interest in this final installment. Sure, she does one big thing at the end of the book, but for 99.9% of the novel, there's a slow, repetitive narrative of inner monologue and whiny dialogue that grated on me. I'll admit that this could be because I'm an adult, and this is YA fiction, but I also think other readers will pick up on this and have a hard time processing that this is the same adventurous heroine we came to love in the first two books.
At the same time, Scarlett is mad at Julian because he has abandoned her for 6 weeks, and in the meantime she has been exchanging letters with the real count, her former fiance, and their correspondence has resulted in Scarlet deciding to pit the two men against each other in, yes, another competitive love triangle! Hooray for all of the love triangles! Thankfully this one doesn't last as long as the one listed above, and honestly felt like filler to make the book have a padded page count. Scarlett does play an arguably more important role in this installment, and I do applaud Garber for attempting to give this girl a strong character arc, but it felt a bit forced and politically correct. I want strong female leads as much as the next person, but a total personality change in the final book of a trilogy felt a little off for me.
I think my favorite part of this book though is that we finally get a deeper look into The Fates, and while it wasn't as much as I'd hoped for, I found myself fully engaged in these sections. I loved the "history" and folklore surrounding how they were created and what role they have played, past and present, in the shaping of their fantastical world. I can't say too much about this, but Finale does hinge it's plot on one of the fates, and how this particular one ties Scarlett, Tella, and Paloma to the story.
Unfortunately, I found the ending to be rushed, skimmed over, and tidy beyond all reason, which really works for some readers, but is tough for me. I'm a masochistic reader, and I want my characters to be cost something, so when everyone shows up flawlessly alright with all their dreams come true, I shake my old lady fist at the sky and wonder why I bothered reading this if no one had to survive any form of loss? Maybe I was supposed to find this in Paloma/Paradise (who, let it be known, ALSO HAD A LOVE TRIANGLE YES WE'RE UP TO THREE NOW), but her portion is so slim that I didn't really get a chance to know her.
I know it sounds like I didn't like any portion of this book, but I truly did love the concept and still remain a huge fan of the series/author. Overall I found this particular installment just didn't flow with how the first two were written. This could be because this is the first book that didn't have the suspenseful backing of the mystery of Legend's identity or a game of Caraval to keep the pace racing, or maybe it's the fact that I'm not a huge fan of love triangles, slow burning, repetitive descriptions, and endings that so neat and tidy that they are beyond happily ever after. I'm definitely interested to see where the author chooses to take us next, and I sincerely wish her all the best and success in her future endeavors!
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; 1 edition (7 May 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1473666775
- ISBN-13: 978-1473666771
- Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.8 x 23.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 558 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)