CW: general gore
I finished reading this book drinking wine as black as blood in the moonlight. And I think that is a fitting way to finish this series.
When I read books, I don’t always have visceral memories of reading books. Usually, I don’t even remember where I read a book. But I distinctly remember reading this one for the first time. I got it from the library and I waited until I had nothing going on in my life. Then, I went to my local coffeeshop and got a good table. I read it in one afternoon with my mouth open in shock the whole time.
Because, boy is this a clusterfuck of an ending.
I wrote about the progression of the series in my review for the third book, The Isle of Blood, and how the monsters become less and less defined as the theme of humanity as a monster becomes larger and larger. In this, there isn’t really a monster at all. It’s told in, between, two to four alternating narratives.
One is three years after the events of the third book, so Will is 16 and Warthrop has found another creature he finds incredibly important. Will also has a girl he’s extremely attracted to. It’s the story of how Will and Warthrop last cross paths.
The second is when Will and Warthrop meet again decades later, so Will is in his mid-thirties. This is the story of how they fall apart yet again, and how, in a way, Warthrop becomes his father. (Which, you will understand if you’ve read the first book of the series.)
The third and fourth are harder to parse out because they are woven into the other two. Of these two, one is Will having his moments of insanity where he writes in a way that barely makes sense. The other is Will talking as he is at the time of the book, an old man not yet dead.
And, all of what I just wrote is a huge departure from what the previous books have been, although The Isle of Blood started showing where it might go with Will’s insane writings at times. This change works and doesn’t work. For me, it’s extremely off-putting because it’s such a change. Sure, Will as an old man peeks through in all the books since he’s writing these journals of his youth as an adult. But this is on a whole other level. It is utter insanity.
Yet, it’s amazingly brilliant. It shows Yancey’s talent as an author to take this idea he had and to truly follow it down the rabbit hole, one he didn’t seem to have intended when you read the Acknowledgements at the beginning of the book. After all, this book was nearly never published. The fans of the series fought to get it published so they would have their conclusion. I’m not sure that they got what they wanted or anticipated.
I will forever read this book with an open mouth because it’s confusing and insane and brilliant and completely unlike anything I’ve ever read.
Do you have a conclusion that left you scratching your head about what happened?