Aaagggggggg! Yes that is how I choose to start this book review. I so didn't know what to think. On one hand I loved, loved, loved it. On the other hand there were some things that irritated me. I guess the fact that I could feel so much emotion is a good thing, right? And it made me want to go back and read parts of the first, second, and third books, which is also a plus.
Okay, let's break this down. Pacing. Yes, I know that's not really what everyone wants to read about, but I really liked it in this book. There is more action and less food. It sounds silly, but I could tell you what Kelsey ate for every single meal every single day in the first book. This book starts with a bang and rarely lets you catch your breath. Things are always happening, and Kelsey begins to mature into the kick-butt warrior girl we've all been hoping she'd become. And don't worry, Ren and Kishan also have their shining moments of awesomeness.
I love how Colleen Houck brought everything full circle. You can tell she knew where she was going from the beginning, and the first book led into the last. I love that kind of structure across a multiple book series. I love the mythology and magic used in this book. I know very little about Indian mythology, so everything was fresh and unsullied by past association.
Now on to the stuff everyone really wants to know: the love triangle stuff. No worries, I won't spoil anything for anyone. Let's just say that things happened pretty much like I expected, and I was really satisfied with that. Certain characters make unexpected sacrifices while others are unexpectedly selfish. I hope that doesn't give too much away, but I felt like some characters finally clued in. Kelsie still, unfortunately, spends a little too much time in angst-ville, but I'm not sure I know who she would be if she didn't, so I'm okay with it.
Here's the thing about this series. I feel like Colleen Houck is an amazingly imaginative person. I love the stories she comes up with and the adventures she gives her characters. While her writing got better in each book, I don't feel like the words on the page match the shimmering images in her head, and I so wish they did, because the core of her story, the adventures and creatures and quests she gives her characters are stupendous.
I battled back and forth about what to rate this book. I honestly think I've changed it on Goodreads about 5 times already. Part of me really did love this story despite all it's flaws, so emotionally I should probably give it a luminous 5 star rating. But then there's the other part of me, the more cynical, analytical, and a little embarrassed by my above gushing part, insists that there are things that should probably push it down to a 4.
Here I will give it the stunningly original final rating of 4.5 stars, though who knows where it will end up on Goodreads. I do absolutely recommend that you read this, just be aware that this series has enough cheesy moments to host a fondue party and you may want to throw this book across the room a few times. But despite this, there is the love and the action and the original plot/setting, which is really rare in books these days.
P.S. Oh, and there supposedly is a book 5? I have no idea where that is supposed to fit in with all this. The series ended. Period. Any other addition can only be a nice side story because this one is done, which kind of makes me sad. I thought there would be one more book before the end. It's like going to a birthday party and not getting any ice cream with your cake. It doesn't mean the cake isn't scrumptous, but you're left feeling slightly cheated.