Eliyana Ember is a reluctant queen. As vessel of the Verity—the purest of souls—only she can lead the fight against the wicked magnetism of the Void. If she fails, the paths between Reflections will cease to exist, and those she loves will remain plagued by darkness. After falling through a draining Threshold and suffering near-death, Eliyana awakens to a Shadowalker-ridden Venice, Italy. From there, she must learn to navigate mysteries of time and space. Traveling across the seven Reflections, Eliyana seeks one thing: the demise of the Void. But something else is at stake—the fate of her heart. Kyaphus Rhyen and Joshua David, brothers in arms, duel to win her hand. Ky remains ensnared and tortured by the Void. Joshua, though well-meaning, harbors dark secrets. Meanwhile, Eliyana finds herself torn, her mind and memories leading her in one direction, but her heart pulling her toward a man she knows she shouldn’t trust. How can she discern whom to believe when she cannot even depend on her own fragmented memories?
*NOTE: This is a continuation / conclusion of a series, so we have some spoiler-y material down below. Click away now if you haven't yet read the first two books and don't want spoilers!
Eliyana is now queen of the Second Reflection and vessel for The Verity. As such, she prepares herself and her kingdom for leading an attack against The Void. She survives a fall through a Threshold that nearly kills her (attempting to suck her life force out), awakening in Venice, Italy to find the place full of Shadowalkers. From Venice, Eliyana begins a journey that takes her across the Seven Reflections, gathering info on how to most successfully destroy The Void once and for all. During all this, Eli also goes through an unexpected physical alteration that leaves her quite shaken.
Meanwhile, Ky is struggling with being periodically controlled / tortured by The Void while his brother Joshua David, still not quite right in the head after the events of Book 2, has developed the early stages of DID (once referred to as Split Personality Disorder). Honestly, this part of the book was a little hard to keep straight but I BELIEVE "David" was the good side while "Josh" was the evil one?! The chapters in this book, as in the earlier installments, alternate POVs between Eli, Josh and Ky and in Josh's chapters there's a lot of first person referencing "Josh" in third person. For real, compared to the first two books, this one was a massive headache to keep sorted out.
Even the world building! While impressive in the first book, in this one it was more like a literary Christmas lights tangle. Just all over the place. A ton of info dumps.
WAS. NOT. IMPRESSED.
What else went wrong? Well, Eli's sister, Ebony -- While I actually kinda liked her character in the earlier installments, in this conclusion piece I found her distractingly obnoxious. Seriously, WHAT happened to all these characters I loved so much in Book 1??!
Also, AGAIN the reader is assaulted with pop culture references. Goodness, Miss Sara Ella does play to a certain demographic, and HARD. This was an issue I had with the second book and right off the bat in Book 3 I already hit the "hey, young millennial!" wall. Being of the millennial generation myself... for me, being so obvious felt a little desperate to sound relevant... which is generally not really required of a FANTASY novel. But I will say she does ease up on the habit SOME as you move along in this third book. Even so, it's noticeably grating for this reader.
While I found the first book very unique and gripping, having now reached this conclusion novel I find much of the series to be a sort of YA / NA soap opera with mild, not always well plotted out fantasy elements.
Indulge me a momentary rant: *VENICE. SERIOUSLY --- HOW DO YOU DO SO LITTLE WITH SUCH A SETTING??? -- only brief mention of some canals and St. Marks Basilica and then off to anywhere, everywhere else! Why bother working that location in at all, then? At one point, Eli is even going to the literal Land of Oz. No joke.
I read this one in a day but it took ALL DAY with LOTS of breaks in between. Not because of "OMG THE FEELS. SQUUEEE!" but more like I'm so bored outta my gourd I was doing anything and everything -- even laundry and deep cleaning projects, y'all -- procrastinating going back to this book... not a good sign, but since I was sent this one for review, I don't feel right bestowing a DNF on it.
Noted, Sara, you're a fan of OUAT, Disney and all things princess-y and whimsical. You're hip. You're with it. Dukka Dukka Dukka.
One line I will give Sara Ella props for though, is in Chapter 22, when Ky explains how he perceives The Verity: "Pure of heart doesn't mean without darkness... it means a desire for the light." As someone who has had a lot of darkness in her life but still strives for good, I thought this was rather well put.
But yeah, maybe next go 'round, pull back on the pop culture refs just a bit, girl.
FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book & requested that I check it out and share my thoughts. The opinions above are entirely my own.