I read this book not knowing that it was the last in the series. I don’t know how I managed that as I don’t live under a rock, I swear! The general consensus after a few days of unmitigated rage is that I am dissatisfied. I can’t quite pin down what I wanted, but this wasn’t it. The Dystopian genre can be so tricky. If you get a happy, sunshine ending it’s not always believable. But I don’t want utter destruction and characters whose lives are falling apart either. This book landed squarely in the middle.
Alex is back, baby! The bad news is that he is jaded and aloof and isn’t very nice to Lena. I know I couldn’t expect them to just jump right back into each other’s arms. Too much has happened; there’s been too much loss and they’ve gone too far individually. Enter third wheel; the sweet, hard-working Julian. He’s there, so yeah…um…he doesn’t go away and his feelings for Lena aren’t squashed. I am totally on Team Alex, but I felt bad for Julian the whole time.
Oh and Hanna, dammit. She’s been cured and she is a sad shell of her former self. I knew this would happen, but knowing didn’t damper the sadness and disappointment of seeing her as a caged bird. She still has some flickers of independence and rebellion and it’s just enough to wonder if being cured couldn’t quite tame her free spirit. She stays true to herself, but at a very steep cost. Hanna totally broke my heart in this book.
Here’s the book super simplified: Alec and Lena are reunited, stuff is messed up, sacrifices are made, people die, a few good things happen, The End. Now do you see why I’m a bit unhappy? Somewhere in there should’ve been ‘Alex and Lena are happy’. The ending implies what the future might be like, but we don’t see it happen. It took me a few days of being angry with the ending to finally drop my head and mutter ‘it’s good enough’ and prepare to move onto the next series that will inevitably crush my heart. I kept thinking this can’t be done, this can’t be over. I was looking for one last hidden chapter to wrap it up and give me the warm fuzzies. Trust me, I looked and it isn’t there.
In the end, I have to respect Lauren Oliver for her willingness to piss off all the grumpy assholes like me who need a story wrapped up beautifully. Much respect, because the thing is, the world isn’t beautiful. So, thanks for the nasty shot of reality, I had to use a chaser because it tasted like shit and I choked a little bit, but I managed to keep it down in the end. Overall, this was a fantastic Dystopian trilogy. The first book absolutely blew my mind and had me so in love with these characters that they could’ve been eaten by werewolves in the end and I would’ve been relatively happy. But, don’t you worry! There were no werewolves in sight.