So, the last book ended with the city of New Kandy in ruins and the RSA moving in for the kill on our heroes, with Nat's drakon Mainas still unconscious and Wes collapsing and dying on the cold snowy floor from a spell his sister Eliza cast on him. One of the final reasons I hated Stolen so much was that cliffhanger made me play out the next few scenes in this book, and it promised boredom. But the team is able to heal and most of them escape...to the city of Vallonis, the city Natasha Kestal/Nat has always had to protect at all costs. However, the queen of Vallonis, Niveneh, doesn't approve of Nat coming to Vallonis, which causes a paradox that might doom the peaceful city and the world forever. Nat just has to recast the spell, light the flame, and make the poisoned world anew. And we have the last Heart of Dread book.
Now, after two books, I remembered the names of all of Wes's crew: Shakes, Farouk, Brendan, Liannan and Roark. However, most of them seem pretty much same and same if you ask me and have been since the start. I guess I cared about Shakes the most. From memory, he was the most active in the last book. Now, the book actually starts off...not terrible. I thought it would at first, especially when Wes supposedly wipes out, but then Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston psyche us out. It felt like they changed their minds, however, and the chapter of loss just didn't need to be in there at all. However, once the book takes off, I actually read it very fast. There are often times where I just didn't understand
The writing also just doesn't fit with me. There is a mention of an author who wrote a bestselling book, but if you ask me, the world seems too beyond repair to print books or for many people to even buy them. And there's a time where Nat finds a drakon, and he calls her by Natasha even though she says she's Anastasia, and it wasn't clear how he could've known her nickname. This drakonfire spell that takes place about midway through also didn't make much sense for me. And do we really need another complication between Nat and Wes? After Stolen and what takes place at the beginning here, things are pretty tied up tight, or at least should be. And there's the case for Nineveh...uh, I don't think she'd have known that would happen and I finished the book still not understanding her ambition.
Some good that comes out of this book that I didn't expect is this is the most exciting Heart of Dread, and the characters are able to finally go to Vallonis, and I was surprised and happy they included and briefly paid tribute to the victims of 9/11 and chose a final battle stage I didn't see coming.
And I had mixed experiences about the ending. It toyed with my emotions and props to the couple for going as far as they went, and then they flip themselves upside down with an ending I didn't see coming and reminded me of the ending I hyperventilated over in Strike, the last book in the Sylo series. But it also didn't make a lot of sense and I couldn't help but wish there'd been more celebration. I guess what I mostly wished for was maybe a little bit more pages. This conclusion is so fast-paced it's almost dismissive. But at least there are no surrenders this time, so props there.