Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
Oh, where to begin? I was so excited to read this book, after the one-two punch of Sweetly and Fathomless. There are quite a few reasons why this book was a disappointment, not least of which is that I've read online numerous people saying that Jackson Pearce has said this would be the final book (I couldn't find a source, not even on her official site, so I'll live in hope that she won't give up on it now!) Which undeniably affected my feelings on the book and my review, since, as a wrap up of a strong series? Frankly, it blew. If you're going to have a common plot thread running through a series, you have to eventually resolve it; you can't pretend that they're four stand alone books. So, really? We're just leaving the Fenris to wander around and continue to prey on girls, to eat and to capture and make into ocean girls? I was hoping for some sort of great final entry where all the Reynolds siblings would get together and fight! To give some resolution to the over-arcing storyline.
And speaking of the Reynolds, it was something that bothered me in Fathomless as well, that they apparently don't share information, especially not with their little sister, who they've creepily just dropped into boarding school without so much as warning them about the Fenris. And if anyone had spoken to them, Lucas would have known about the ocean girls during this book, and they wouldn't have bumbled around in the dark. That said, I did really like Lucas, and Ella; they were, by far, my favorite of the characters aside from Ginny herself.
Ginny was sweet. She wasn't outstanding, especially within this series, but she wasn't offensive either, even if her first person narration often sounded bland and generic. But her journey as a person was easy to relate to, and, for me, enjoyable, to watch her becoming a fully confident and independent person outside of her relationship. Kai I could take or leave, but that has a lot to do with the fact that he only gets so much character development before Mora starts controlling him and he behaves, well, like a dick.
Ah, Mora. Not only did she suddenly spout powers it was in no way hinted at that the ocean girls ever had (the power to control water? Ummmm... Certainly they listened to the ocean, and knew how and when to move with it, but that's a long way from going to land and saying, 'okay, I can make it snow now, because rain is just water, and I have power over all of the water!' No.) Though, hooray for following up on the story about the ocean girl who regained her soul by successfully stealing one from a boy who loved her with a kiss, but that was all thrown in there so quickly, among the other revelations about Mora, it seemed weird, rushed.
And then there were the tinkers, aka the Irish Travelers. I had no idea they were so present in the american South (Wiki assures me this is so) as itinerant workers, NOT, as this book suggests, as thieves. It made me cringe, how much Pearce just wrote them to fit the mold as the stereotypical "gipsy," with the caravan and campfires and forced marriages and royalty. When this became the prominent plot thread in the book? I lost interest. Oh, God. Why? There was not one character I liked. Flannery was a little brat whose rolling of her eyes and threatening violence seemed childish, not in the least strong. When she actually left with Ginny, it felt like a punch to the soul, that I was stuck with her now.
Oh, and how about the scene where the young men all fight over who gets to "possess" Ginny? Isn't that a bunch of fun, reading about boys fist fighting over the privilege to rape our heroine? Because that's what it is, let's be honest. Cooking and cleaning, my ass! And that's another strange thing: Flannery cusses up a storm, but sex seems to be a taboo subject to even touch on. Mora? She makes the boys sleep with her (as far as we see, literally sleep, but, come on! For me, the truth about her "physical comfort" was implied), makes them "love" her, and yet, Kai is not allowed to deal with the implications of that afterward; he's still spouting that he loved her, and then worrying that Ginny'll be insecure about it. Well, what do you feel about it, boy? There's some heavy Stockholm going on there, and maybe that was the point, but if it was, she dropped the ball in dealing with it in its complexity and the actual horror of it. Oh, why?
Also, how does Ginny not get frostbite, at all? Running around in the freakishly cold snow in flimsy clothing for extended periods of time. She sort of gets hypothermia at the end, and then not really, even after falling into the water and not immediately getting help. All right.
On a whole, however, the book was probably the best paced of all four of them. The story wasn't rushed, it felt complete. There weren't five different climaxes, the pacing was right, and there was an emotional payoff for every character involved. She used a LOT from the fairy tale. Which was fun to spot, like the red shoes, but it also seemed more distracting than being a bit more fast and loose. A middle of the road read, with some problematic themes and material, made a bit worse by the fact that it's possibly the end to an otherwise strong series.