Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Review: Afterglow

Teenage volcano goddess Ashline Wilde discovers that her former love, Colt Halliday, has an evil plan to kill the Cloak, the benevolent beings that oversee the gods. And that’s not all—he also wants to merge Ash and her two sisters back into a single, too-powerful goddess, Pele. Ash must stop her trickster-god ex-boyfriend once and for all…and to do it, she’s going to have to feed a few flames.

ALL THE FEELS.  No wait I'm way cooler then that.  Afterglow, the final book in the wild ride of Ashline Wilde's (see what I did there?) life hits you like a 3 ton slab of rock (that's way more clever sounding when you read the book).  A lot happens in this book--reunions, betrayals, death, life, love, obsession, sacrifice, traveling, BBQ'ing, but at its core the book is about love.  Sentimental as that sounds, its about love in all its facets.

Ashline realizes something during the final face off with Colt (its not a spoiler, its the final book so if you didn't expect that you live under a rock).  His crazy homicidal quest is not just about romance and sex, he's spent the centuries chasing down the one woman who would understand him and love him despite the fact he's a raving loon.  Kind of like Rose, who always felt so alone, he's just a guy who wants a connection.

Unfortunately in order for him to have that connection he needs to meld together the perfect woman, but hey these are small things in the course of true love right?  Or some homicidal maniac's idea of true love.

I've never made secret my love of these books, but that doesn't mean they're without flaws.  Knight picks up a couple new gods/goddesses in the course of this novel and they wander in to move the plot forward or stymie Ashline and her friends' plans, but aren't fully there.  Colt picks up deities and trades them out as it suits him, which great characterization for him, but leaves those poor fools with little detail and easily forgotten.

I think I would have also really liked to see more of the Feral Deity Army that are such a big concern for a good chunk of the book, but are treated like wooden soldiers.  [spoiler] Colt destroys the Cloak's Tree, whole bunch of crazy blood thirsty and powerful deities get loose, but unless they ALL died in the ending fight between Ashline's forces and Colt's forces, I can't think things stayed hunky-dory.  In the end Knight doesn't give a sense of 'We have a mess to clean up', but more 'We defeated Colt! In 50 or so years this will probably start again, but for now we are totally safe!' vibe.[/end spoiler]

There were tears at the end, when the price of protecting everyone is met, but between the trip to Hawai'i and then the rather awesome epilogue, there's a lot of hope as well.  I thought Ashline's plan to make sure Colt could never be a problem again was ingenious.  I'm not sure if that's what Jack (ie: the Cloak) meant exactly, but definitely amused me.

As an ending to a series? I think this was perfect.  It ties up most of the loose threads, gave us backstory about Colt and Pele Love Round One (though oh oh another question - what was Colt doing that night Pele went RAWR on him?), a satisfying battle and hope for the future happiness for the deities.  Death count wise this definitely beat out Wildefire and Embers and Echoes, but like I said the Epilogue is very hopeful if you squint.