Author: Kelly Creagh
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror/Gothic Fiction
Series: Nevermore, book three
Star Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
This book was given to me by the publisher, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review--thank you so much!
The final book in Kelly Creagh's smash gothic hit, the Nevermore trilogy, is like walking through a dangerous, seductive nightmare of the most terrible proportions.
As I've said before, I'm a person who happens to be very iffy about my sequels. They make me nervous, especially if I love a book that came before it. More often than not, they let me down, and for a few days, I feel a sense of crushing, immediate depression and disappointment. (Sometimes, I really feel like I need to get a life..)
And then there are the gems, the jewels in the crown, the hidden diamonds in the rough, that ratchet up the action and the emotional pain, and I'm so happy to report that I'm so glad I finally finished this series. Picking up where Enshadowed lives off, Isobel is yet still determined to return Varen to her side, to help him escape the dreamworld that Lilith has imprisoned him in, to keep her promise and save him.
Unfortunately, though, there are other things in the way: her worried parents and brother, her friends at school, and, consumed with thoughts of saving Varen, everything around Isobel, gray and colorless and empty though it is without him, watches the entirety of her life fall apart, unable to move on despite the deepening sense that it might all be for nothing anyway.
One of the things I loved this series so much is for its characters. Despite most of them being quite unlikable, or in some more extreme cases, evil, they still made a lasting impression upon my heart, and for that, Creagh will always and forever have my admiration. How does one write a good book if you don't care about the characters that populate it? There's Varen, scarred, broken, and alone in a world of his own making, but yet is empty and yearning for Isobel. And then there's Isobel herself, determined to find Varen and put a stop to the dark forces that took him away from her. I loved Varen's character development; it was so real and raw and painful. Heartbreaking? Perhaps. And then there's the constant foil of Isobel drifting in and out of the real world, tied to Varen and yet not.
And then there's the pacing--it was completely breakneck, I couldn't flick through the pages of my Kindle fast enough. I was immediately sucked in from the first page, and all my doubts about the dreaded slump quickly fled my mind. The worldbuilding Creagh creates is so wonderful, rich and dark and as powerful as any drug, especially toward Varen.
It also didn't help that my heart was constantly in my throat. I was worried constantly that the characters I'd loved and grown so much to care for were going to die--and there are more than the fair share of close shaves, people!
And let's not forget, of course, the villain, the demon that stole Varen's mind and soul when she offered him the most seductive, enticing escape possible: A door into his own mind, his stories coming to life by mere thought. And I'll be honest, as a reader and writer myself: I was just as tempted as he was.
Oh, this book. This series. Heartbreaking, terrible, and dark though it was, it was a beautifully raw journey through the mind of a terribly scarred of a boy, bits and pieces of his psyche exposed to the reader's eye, but it is also a resounding, powerful testament to the power of true love. A wild, dark, heartbreaking ride well worth the time! The bottom line: A gorgeously plotted and written conclusion to the success of the Nevermore series, Oblivion was the perfect way to end one of my favorite trilogies to date! Next on deck: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir!