After the soul stomping ending of the last Jane True book, I was ready for this book to sweep me off my feet and continue the wild ride from page one. Let me warn you now, it doesn't do that. In fact, for the first 90+ pages, I found myself struggling to get through the book. There's a lot of quiet misery, which I understand. But there is a huge amount of time devoted to existential ideas and ideology inside the world building. I found myself asking What happened to the characters I love so much in this series? The relationships? The action?
The short answer: they're here. You just don't see them until about a third of the way into the book.
That being said, the second two thirds of the book were great. After the requisite amount of research (*shudder*) Jane figures out what she needs to do to save Anyan from a lifetime trapped inside an evil white dragon. Jane must work with her band of friends and supporters to get the job done. It's a mishmash of her people from Rockabill and those she has met in her various adventures. (Honestly, I wish I would have done a series re-read, because I kind of struggled remembering who everyone was.) But it became increasingly obvious just how vital her team is to her success.
It's a great finish to the series in a few ways: most notably with Jane and Anyan. One of my chief complaints about their relationship has always been in how it's been ridiculously parceled out. The wait for them to finally get together was excruciating. Thankfully, all of that is over. We finally see Jane and Anyan as they were meant to be together. Plenty of love; plenty of sex. Plenty satisfying. Also great: Nicole Peeler ties up her loose ends nicely. We get resolution on many lingering threads. We see what happens to all these characters we have gotten to know. And finally --we see Jane come full circle. She has evolved into this awesome champion... only to find it's her fragile humanity --her heart-- that makes her capable of saving the world. Good stuff.
There were a couple of niggles. Like I said, the start was really slow. And this book is really missing the humor I have come to love from Jane and the series. There's a great line about sex surrounded by Oreos and a river of milk that gave me a chuckle, but all in all... it's heavy. The prior installments really balanced the humor and the serious in a way this book just didn't.
All in all, though, I liked the way it ended. Peeler throws in a good surprise or two and kept me emotionally invested until the end. A satisfying conclusion to a good series.
Rating: B*ARC Provided by Orbit