Second Book Syndrome is R E A L and it can attack a series at any time. For those who do not know, SBS is most common among trilogies of books: the first book is amazing with world building and character introduction, then the second book is fairly flat, but then the third book comes back and packs a punch to close things out. That’s what (I think) happened here except the third book was the flat one. *for those who haven’t read Caraval and Legendary, please navigate away from this blog post. Finale is the closing book to the trio and I don’t want to spoil anything for you.*
Just us here now? Cool. Here we go. This is a highly theatrical series…I actually think it’d make a great movie or play series, but that’s a separate topic for another day (COMMENT below if you want to see my dream casting for this series as a future post).
♥️ Scarlett is the older of the two sisters. She’s fiercely protective of her lil sis, in the past allowing herself to be beat by their father to save her sister.
♦️ Donatella. The little sister. Adventurous and headstrong. She tends to act first, encounter consequences, and try to fix things after…all without Scarlett finding out. ♣️ Julian. Scarlett’s boothang and brother of Legend. A bit heady as well, but he always has the good of others in mind.
♠️ Dante (who is also Legend). Honestly, a sweet guy. He loooves him some Tella and his brother Julian.
🃏 Jacks. Prince of Hearts. A Fate. Perfect villain (in my opinion) and had the potential to be the Big Bad Guy.
🥀Legend (who is also Dante). The game master. Cruel and ruthless and loving? We’ll keep him around, I guess.
👑 The Fates. The cronies of the overlord. They mostly cause minor traffic jams and occasionally turn butlers to stone. Nothing serious
✨Fallen Star. The head of the Fates. He’s supposed to be our ULTImate villAIN buuuut I don’t see why? Finale opens with our Scar & Tella waiting for their mother to awake from her enchanted coma. This coma is a two edged thing; if she wakes, they get their mom back but the Fates will always awaken too. That seems to be a problem.
One of my biggest problems with this book is that there’s a new villain introduced and….we fear him? (No. We don’t). Said villain is also Scarlett’s birth father? Said villain also killed Paloma (who was fairly useless to the story to begin with)?
This story wrapped the series nicely: everything was closed up and we got happy ending(s).
Overall, I feel like Finale lacked the magic, mystery, and intrigue that Caraval and Legendary had. Scarlett’s chapters are boring and flat and Tella’s are a series of “I want this boy, no this one, no this one!” conversations. Despite Finale being less than satisfying for me, I still loved it. Stephanie Garber wrote a world full of magic and wonder and love. I will forever cherish these books, and I’ll definitely reread them in the future.