Half Lost by Sally Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Damn. I mean...bloodydamn.
Going into this, I was kind of wondering, why exactly are we supposed to hate Annelise again? I never had a problem with her, really, aside from her being quite underdeveloped as a character. But for what personality she had, I didn't think she was anywhere near the Hate Sink that the fandom (and, as of this book, Nathan) makes her out to be. So I found a copy of Half Wild and looked at the ending again to refresh my memory. Oh yeah...but was that really such a bad thing, what she did? Part of the appeal of this series is that the majority of characters are morally grey, and that Black and White Witches are often quite equally ruthless. So, yes, she made a huge mistake, but given the circumstances, I'm much more forgiving of her.
As for Nathan and Gabriel, I had some reservations about them being a couple in the first two books, because for a while I didn't think they would have compatible sexual orientations. But Green did a great job of having Nathan come to accept his bisexuality slowly and learn that he returned Gabriel's feelings, so by the time this book starts, Nabriel's all but canon.
This book finally brings the White/Black Witch wars to an end, with more globetrotting and deadly magic than ever. Throughout the early chapters, Nathan's plagued with visions of himself being shot, which you might think is meant to foreshadow the book's climax. Not even close - the climax is far more intense and violent than any damage a measly magic bullet can commit. One magic bullet, that is.
Ultimately, the trilogy ends on a bittersweet note - one that I'm sure the majority of the fans (who've probably read this book before I finally got around to it) are seriously pissed off about, for a number of death-related reasons. But it's not all death in the distant finale (the last 25 pages or so take place over a period of approximately five years, I think.) There's life and love to spare as well. It's a delicate balance, and Green took a huge risk that could have alienated the fanbase, but for me, it was the one time reading this series that actually made me tear up. And I had to read that one last chapter several times to determine whose POV it was written in, as well as to make sense of the very last death.
And on a final note - thank God this book finally does away with the second-person POV interludes that periodically cropped up in its two predecessors. That's just such a huge pet peeve of mine, and it helps the trilogy end that much better for me knowing that the annoying format is no longer there.
Ave atque vale, Half Bad Trilogy.
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