Saturday, January 30, 2016

rd Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl | Rating: ★★★★★

There are lots of things we choose not to see. Doesn't mean they aren't there, even if we wish they weren't.

Fans were certainly stumbling over themselves in anticipation over the conclusion of the much-beloved Caster Chronicles. We were all thrown off in the final moments of Beautiful Chaos and startled by the loss of one character. His sacrifice was huge in the moments that he gave up his own life to save his family, friends and the southern town of Gatlin.

Now, we follow him into the afterlife and watch with teary eyes as he tries to come to grips with his own death. But he isn’t the only one struggling: those who were left behind in the world of living are having a hellish time moving forward.

One thing is for certain, one thing everyone should know by reading this series, is that anything could happen. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is forever. Nothing is certain. In one small jump, we lost one important player–but is there a way to get him back? Beautiful Redemption shows us strength and determination in ways we had yet to see and is by far the most beautiful of the series.

(Spoilers under the cut, so stop reading if you haven’t finished this installment.)


Chaos showed us what it felt like to lose Ethan Wate–in order to save Gatlin and those he loves, he had to fix the balance of things before it all was destroyed. He dies within the final chapters of Chaos and it left readers feeling quite horrible. Redemption shows us life after death and the marks it leaves on everyone.

By dying, he saved countless lives and people–Lena, Amma, Link, Mr. Wate, Macon, Liv, Marian, and so on. They are left to pick up the pieces on the other side and it’s not pretty. It’s heartbreaking, to be honest. I think that the scenes with Amma are the hardest to read because it’s basically the most shattering series of emotions in the books yet because he is Amma’s boy.

You know? And she’d do anything for him. It’s devastating to see how that loss effects her. That feeling expands even more when we see the lengths that she and the others go through to keep Ethan’s father in the dark–the loss of Lila before the series was too much for him to bare and the loss of Ethan would be just as bad, if not worse.

The story is split in three parts and flips between Ethan and Lena’s narration. Ethan, we follow him in the afterlife where he is reunited with his mother and Aunt Prue, who died in Chaos. It’s not a light story to follow this time around and you really, really feel for both characters and it’s incredible how determined and strong everyone is.

I think my favorite thing about Redemption is how well every one works together–how they band together to bring Ethan back, somehow, and how Ethan continuously tries to communicate and send hints to them. In the mortal world, we’ve got a stellar team of Ethan’s loved ones and in the afterlife we’ve got Prue, Ethan and Lila working together.

But Ethan and the scenes with his mother take up a huge place in my heart. Seeing them reunited and how happy it makes both of them–in spite of the circumstances–is beautiful and will destroy you when they have to say goodbye again. Ethan is more determined than ever to get back to Lena and the fuel is the discovery that he was never meant to die.

Ethan and Lena race against the clock to change everything and find a way back to each other. If you weren’t a believer in these two and how much they love one another, Redemption is where it’s going to change for you because it’s stronger than ever and I just… I love it. It’s horribly heartbreaking but it’s also stunning.

We see new places explored because of the afterlife and I think that the concept of the graveyard and those houses was awesome. I like anything that looks at death differently than most and I have to say it was intriguing and fit really, really well with the imaginative tone the series is already known for.

I won’t tell you what happens but the ending is very satisfying when compared with the story and where it could have ended. I needed a box of tissues for the entirety of it and there is just so much heart in it that I couldn’t put it down.

As always, it was addictive and unique and a blast to read. Of course, it tied in with themes from the other three installments and wrapped up the series in one big swoop. I’m just sad about the one sacrifice that was made to bring Ethan back home and oh man, I’m still tearing up thinking about it.

Yikes.

And honestly? I'm never going to look at crossword puzzles the same, not without thinking about the hidden messages that Ethan sent to Lena and Amma in the paper.

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