Demons aren't the worst evil stalking a gritty alternative England in the conclusion to an outstanding urban-fantasy trilogy.
Dancer Cynthia "Sin" Davies is a true daughter of the Goblin Market, the motley alliance of folk on the magical fringe. When the Ryves brothers—charming, manipulative Alan and vicious, inscrutable Nick—instigate open warfare with a Circle of murderous magicians, Sin finds herself competing for Market leadership. Sin's complicated background and her current dilemma provide almost too many plot conflicts, as she juggles loyalties to her families, her community, her friends and herself. Unfortunately, half the story is weighed down by romantic dithering before it finally explodes into a relentless rollercoaster of magical intrigue, deception, betrayal, counter-betrayal, violence, tragedy, heartbreak and sacrifice. Against impossible odds, the (more-or-less) heroes manage to pull off an ambiguously upbeat ending. But Sin remains a strangely shallow protagonist, ever the consummate performer and obsessed with appearances. She dances chameleonlike through all the mayhem, observing and reacting, rather than instigating and resolving, as too many pivotal events occur off-page. This odd detachment diminishes the fiercely intimate exploration of family love that gave the first two books their emotional power.
Flashes of quicksilver humor and a tentative Happy-For-Now don't quite overcome the ominous reminder that, when treating with demons, they "always take more than you can afford to pay." (Urban fantasy. 14 & up)