Monday, June 4, 2012

Taken by Storm, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

A vivid, wrenching, entirely worthy conclusion to an excellent trilogy.

Take everything we've seen from Ms. Barnes before in this series and mark it up by fifty percent - the violence, the emotional impact, the shocking plot twists - then reduce the size of the book by a fourth, and you'll have this speed-reading terror of a foil-bound trilogy-closer. (I'm going to be speaking about it as though it's the end of the the series; it has a definite ring of finality to it that I hope goes undisturbed, and from what I've heard on the author's site, it will.)

If anyone's reading this and doesn't know the first two books... click on the "shapeshifters" tag and find my reviews of them. Here we have Bryn, the human girl raised by a werewolf pack after the murder of her parents... Bryn, who has by this book grown up a good deal and taken her own very unique place in her raw, wild, and dangerous world.

I'm saying very little here, to avoid spoilers. Because trust me, for this book, you don't want'm. I was on the metaphorical edge of my seat the whole time. Suffice to say that a long-held question of mine was answered, one of Evan's predictions came true that I didn't believe would, and one of my predictions did as well. Two plot points that we both expected also occurred. Not that I'm saying this book is predictable - I was eeping the whole while.

There will almost certainly be a few points at which you will beg, "Don't let it end like this!"
Almost certainly a few to the tune of, "Is there honestly a way out of this?"
Wordless exclamations are also not inappropriate at many spots.

I'm not entirely positive what I think of Callum's prescience as a plot device. It may have annoyed me... I'm honestly not sure whether it did or not. On the other hand, it annoys other characters, too.

For those of you who read Hunger Games, you'll probably come to notice that Ms. Barnes has jumped on the "surprise chapter endings" bandwagon. I'm not un-sorry. But I did have to cover a few endings with my hand because my nervous eye has a tendency to jump ahead of my reading.

(I just turned on Handel's "Messiah" again. I think I did this writing the review of the first book, too. I detect a trend here?)

Age rec: This is going to stop all of nobody, but probably fifteen and up? And up? (chuckles nervously) Just for violence and some slightly disturbing scenes related to same. Unlike the previous two books, I found some parts of this one uncomfortable. Trust me - not because of the romance, so for any of you who worried that the third book would involve flagrant indecency, lay your minds at rest. [I am about to slightly qualify that last statement with a very indefinite and small spoiler that avoids naming names: One of the characters becomes pregnant while unmarried, but the fact alone is established onstage, without any indecent content in sight.]

Bottom line: The promise held out in the first two books is amply fulfilled and then some.

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