The dramatic conclusion to the faerie fantasy series by Hamilton (The Seven Year King, 2013 etc.).
The story opens with the UnSeelie king closing in on his goal of destroying the Seelie people, including their reluctant queen Tara, who’s sequestered in London trying to reclaim her ordinary, human life. When Larkin, the Seelies’ de facto leader, threatens to kidnap a girl dear to Tara if she refuses to return and help defeat the UnSeelies, Tara decides she can no longer deny her destiny. The devastation she encounters upon her return galvanizes her, but she and her cohorts become distracted when they go on a rescue mission to save a prisoner. Afterward, Tara decides to abandon Faerie and return to her human life after all, despite the fact that the UnSeelie king continues to gain strength. It isn’t until he kidnaps one of Tara’s family members that she finally steps up, recruiting a richly drawn, intriguing cast of secondary characters to help, including her lover, his brother, and another, unexpected ally. Although Tara is the book’s namesake, her decision to abandon Faerie when her people are being tortured and killed makes her appear somewhat weak and selfish. Even when she returns for the final battle, she’s more concerned about her beloved friends than the fate of the world. Larkin is the story’s most compelling character, and her courage, sacrifice and bravery make her worth rooting for. Hamilton delivers vivid battle scenes in the lead-up to a brilliant, surprise ending. The prose is witty and rich throughout, offering a masterful vision of two intertwining worlds. The faerie lore is also intricate and well-developed. As the final book in the series, it wraps up many subplots from prior installments, although it sometimes provides insufficient back stories, which can make it difficult for readers who haven’t recently read the rest of the books. That said, it delivers clever plot twists that keep the suspense mounting and the pages turning.
A strong finale to a dark, compelling series.