My most highly anticipated YA fantasy finale of the year is here and there was never any doubt that I would read it on the release day itself. And now I’m a sobbing mess and I don’t know what to do. Why did you do this to me Julie 😭😭😭
We pretty much know where the plot is going because there is only one path forward, so the author had to make sure that we enjoyed the journey, and I can tell you she did exactly that. This series has always been full of adventure and action sequences and this finale took everything to the extreme. There were very few moments where the characters or we readers were allowed to breathe, otherwise it was mostly a breakneck pace with the characters having to face one big hurdle after another before they reach their final destination. The action scenes are thrillingly executed, and the monsters which show up are bigger and badder one after the other and it just creates this whole sense of doom throughout the book. This kind of also prepares us for the fact that not all of our favorite characters are gonna make it to the end, and despite having this heads up, I ended up bawling when things happened.
But this series has always been about the characters and their bond with each other and despite the fast pace, we also get the quiet and vulnerable moments which show us how far they all have come. Yumeko may have discovered much more about her powers but she is still the same pure at heart kitsune and I love her with all my heart. We finally learn the truth about her past and it was such an explosive revelation that I never saw coming. Tatsumi is forever changed now after the end of Soul of the Sword and it really showed in his character. He is scared how much of himself is left within and doesn’t want to let Yumeko get close to him, but her trust is implicit and their relationship progress is written beautifully. She is the light to his darkness and I loved watching them together every step of the way.
Okame and Daisuke have been my favorites since the beginning and it’s always so much fun seeing them banter with each other. There were also a lot of heartfelt dialogue between them this time and it filled my heart with joy. But I still wish we had gotten atleast one of their POVs and I think that remains a missed opportunity. I felt Reika got much less page time but that doesn’t in anyway diminish the importance of her character or the way she supports Yumeko both during fights and as a best friend. Suki also has some very important moments and I was delighted, but not at all surprised by the choices she makes because she maybe a ghost, but she is still the same sweet girl who fell in love with a Taiyo. However, it was Hakaimono who surprised me again and I totally dig the ending he got. We are also introduced to a couple of new characters and get some fantastic reveals about returning characters, which make for a highly entertaining read.
To conclude, this was a perfect finale and despite all the moments that I sobbed at, I understand that it probably had to be that way. So if you are a fan of the series, I know you’ll be reading this finale anyway but just be prepared with tissues because this is gonna stomp on your heart and break it into pieces. And if you are someone who has never read this series before but enjoy delightful ensemble casts, amazing relationships, great adventures and action sequences, and a cool dose of Japanese folklore and mythology – this trilogy is perfect for you and I would highly recommend it. The last line of the book is what I’m holding onto for now because it gave me some joy back, but I won’t be forgetting these heartbreaks anytime soon.