It's the final battle, the culmination of the series. It's when the weapons come out and the battle lines are drawn and redrawn and blood and death reign supreme as conniving minds scheme to gain the upper hand. It becomes a war of three factions, the Mayor, the Mistress, and the Spackle. And in the midst of it all, Todd and Viola are trying to do the right thing, to find peace in the world and to save each other.
I can't believe I'm giving this four stars. Well, it's more like 3.75, but it's basically four stars. I came into this book with low expectations because endings are so hard to do well. But this deserves more than three stars, more than 3.5 stars. In the beginning I thought Ness wasn't that skilled at writing war - and he isn't. His battle scenes are a little clumsy as he portrays characters talking dialogue in the middle of battle and other slightly unbelievable things. But he is great at writing subterfuge and the hidden tactics of war. And this book brings us further into war, brings it into the actual death and destruction of what war is (instead of the guerrilla fighting of book 2).
We also get 1017's point of view in first person as well. I love Ness for this: giving us a new perspective with each book. That broadens our understanding of the characters and gives new insights into the world.
His style is still fairly consistent, his strengths and weakness similar to the other two books again. It has the same quick pace with truces and plans and attacks happening every other page. It's an adventure book that shows these characters grown up, but still making those hard decisions all over again.
Again, there were some things that I don't buy again (spoilers: like the silencing of Todd's Noise just by thinking the phrase or how it's opened again by talking to Ben. Too quick.).
I loved how he makes the villains sympathetic and the protagonists guilty of crimes as well (who is to say Viola or Todd is correct for wanting to kill thousands for one person?). These characters aren't flat, and they make you hurt for them in all the right ways.
There are so many mini-climaxes towards the end (so many fake endings). While I really appreciated it, there were some parts where the heroes became villains unexpectedly - and there was just not enough transition moments to make that believable as well. But the resulting plot and action that came from those twists are freaking amazing. So I'll let it go.
The ending. At first I was like... ack that's a cop-out ending, but no... it was done well. He did it justice. It didn't exactly tie up all the loose ends, but it ended on the right note. And it's hard to find a book that ends on a perfect note, so I bumped it a little bit in the ratings.
4 stars because I really did like this book a lot and the way it ended. It was entertaining, thought-provoking, had well rounded characters and great villains.
Recommended for people who read the first two books. But I would really recommend this series to anyone who likes adventure books.