I fully enjoyed the last few months of reading the first two books in the Danaan trilogy – The Forgotten Ones and Stone of Destiny. After reading the second book, I was extremely excited to read the final book in the trilogy just to see what Laura Howard had in mind for some of my favorite characters of the summer – emphasis on some – because I was hoping for something huge, spectacular, and out of this world. Of course, I have high expectations for the last books of a series. You guys are special (read: reallyyyy special)!
Oh, and The Forgotten Ones did land in one of my best reads of 2014.
Sadly, A Place Beyond suffered a little bit of what I call "Last Book Syndrome," in which compared to the prior books, the last book didn't exceed my expectations. Let me repeat: The last books are special. Simply because most of the time, I rarely get to the last book of the series, reason or no reason.
There are probably a few reasons why Laura Howard's ending to her debut series didn't exactly meet up to my expectations:
First, I feel as though A Place Beyond is questioning all of the Danaans' loyalties and where it lies – are the characters on the same side, or are the characters puppets and there's a puppeteer behind the scenes (aside from the author, who actually created the world) playing all the characters? It seems to particularly question royalty, especially Saoirse.
Second, the ENDING (aka final battle). Third, the villain. I'm putting both reasons together – in a way – because they go interchangeably.
If anything, I find the ending pretty important. It's the final battle! Who shall prevail?!?!?! All fans are sitting at the edge of their seats, flipping the pages, waiting to see what the author would throw at them next, anticipating the next move. Drama! Hooray! We all love drama in a way.
But in A Place Beyond, the villain gives up. Typical "NOOOOO." Roar.
The villain agrees to break the curse she had on Allison's mother and father – it's been there since The Forgotten Ones. There doesn't seem to be a bit of a fight. Again, I point to the villain giving up. It's like Aoife readily agreed – if she was going to give up, why even bother in the first place? Or maybe I'm just one of those weirdos who think you should go down fighting. It's funny, honestly. I have this tendency to ask for a draw sometimes in a chess match at a tournament, but I choose not to in the end.
Which is precisely why I'm probably currently one of the worst chess players in my state (I'm not the competitive type – competitive hardly goes well). And I honestly don't care too much because I'm too busy being scholarly to study chess. School, work and books are my priorities. Obviously, blogging is part of it.
But I repeat (for like the third time): the villain basically gives up. I would have loved to see her trapped in a fey globe again if you ask me – are there stronger ones out there? After making Aoife break the geis first, of course.
Oh, and Aoife's so nonchalant about sacrificing herself. It's total irony, guys. Just complete irony. Now that I think about it, the villain is so bad, it's good. Not to be so critical or anything – I'm absolutely peachy.
But hey, I still enjoyed A Place Beyond while it lasted. That's all that matters, right? No, A Place Beyond wasn't a great end to a trilogy, but it was a happy read (read: Ever After by Chloe Miles is just one of those happy reads I'm talking about). A quick read that gave me a break from the essays and projects I had earlier this month (yeah, yeah. I have more things to worry about in December. 8th graders, stop complaining so much. I worry about your future in three years). And really, I needed a good, quick read.
Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.