Sunday, 2 July 2017

REVIEW: The Black Key (Lone City #3)

The Black Key (The Lone City, #3)Violet and the Society of the Black Key are preparing to launch an attack on the royalty, and Violet has a crucial role to play. She must lead the surrogates as they infiltrate the Auction and break down the walls of the Lone City. But with her sister, Hazel, imprisoned in the palace of the Lake, Violet is torn. In order to save her sister, she must abandon her cause and her friends and return to the Jewel.

For a conclusion I've been waiting over a year for, and two years if we're counting the whole trilogy, I feel kind of deflated by this ending. True, I got everything I wanted in the ending, but it just didn't feel as strong as The Jewel or The White Rose

That being said, this conclusion peaks where so many ends to other YA dystopia/fantasy trilogies fail. Violet doesn't have a 'Chosen One' complex: Until the very end, she's adamant that this isn't just about her, no matter how much she has to go it alone, she's aware that it isn't all down to her, and for once - unlike so many YA protagonists - accepts the help, and accepts that they're ALL 'chosen ones.' The romance didn't dominate over the plot, and instead flowed subtly throughout the story, meaning that the relationship between Violet and Ash never felt forced, and came off as natural. As well as this, there was SO much death, and each one had it's brutal impact. I like that Ewing chose to kill off so many characters throughout the course of the book and not just in a one-chapter-battle; it helped to build tension, but also strengthened the cause that the Black Key was fighting for. 

Once again, Ewing is excellent at character development. Each character, no matter their prominence or lack thereof has a rich backstory which as it unfolds makes me as a reader feel both hatred and adoration for each and every character. It's something impressive that fails to often come across in YA, and is certainly something that I'll miss now that this trilogy is over.

But on the whole, this felt a little rushed. I could have done with a little less unneeded description and a little more plot development. Whilst this is the final book in the trilogy, The Black Key doesn't even hit 300 pages, and the ending, in particular the final overthrowing of the royalty felt hasty. It was crammed into less than 80 pages, and where there was a lot of 'connecting to the elements,' and exposition those descriptions were wasted words where we needed more description of what was actually happening.

Furthermore, most of the events that occured in The Black Key were highly predictable. I guessed most of the plot twists that were coming the second I closed The White Rose, and so nothing that was intentionally there to enthrall the reader came as a shock to me. No matter how much I appreciate this book concluding the trilogy, it didn't have nearly as much of the twisted flare that I so adored in The Jewel and The White Rose, but rather, as previously mentioned, felt like a hasty publication to conform to a "one-a-year" trilogy.

I'm glad I read this trilogy - I loved it, and have loved the wait of anticipating every new novel and novella. It's a refreshing spin on the typical tropes of royalty, bureaucracy, and political corruption in a YA categorised series. Each book is wonderful in it's own right, but this final one just fell a little weaker in comparison to The Jewel and The White Rose. Nevertheless, I'll miss it, and am curious to see where Amy Ewing's writing takes her next.

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