FINALLY! I know!
I feel like it's taken me forever to, not only get to Beautiful Redemption, but to finish it. I don't know what the hold up was but I am so happy to have finished it. I feel like it was wrapped up in a really wonderful and fitting way.
I was immediately struck upon starting this book by the image Lena presents of Ethan's shoe falling from the tower. There's something about that detail that was so immeasurably sad. Something so acute and sharp about it.
Ethan. Oh, I love Ethan. I'm pretty sure I say this every time I read one of these. It's just...he's...Ethan. Even while venturing through the Otherworld he maintains his pure every-guy sort of quality that makes him stand out so much among all of these supernatural beings. And it gives him a special sort of power. He never loses that, even as he grows as a character. Ethan never lets himself be tainted by what has happened. There's something so pure about Ethan.
I think overall, Lena works best in opposition to Ethan. She has all of these excellent and fearsome supernatural powers but she is more easily led by her emotions. And I don't necessarily mean that emotions are bad, it's just that she is more likely to act without thinking of the consequences for everyone else. Ethan has a more selfless quality. I feel like as the series went on Lena took more of a back seat and I think that worked out for the best because Ethan ended up being a much stronger character and so much of the story came down to him anyway.
I found myself wishing there was a little bit more John in this book. He really grew on me and I wanted to see more of him and Liv. I would love to read a short story about them. I think it would be awesome.
The most striking character arc in this series is easily Amma's. Link's is a good one, but it doesn't stand out the same way that Amma's does. She goes from being this fearsome force of pure, untainted good to desperate and broken. The image of her crumbling as Ethan climbs up to the water tower in Chaos is wonderful and terrible. And she isn't in Redemption all that much but the changes in her are so noticeable and sad that she doesn't need a ton a page time to make an impact. It hurt reading about her at times.
The whole labyrinth and fight at the end with Angelus was a bit odd. There was something almost Percy-Jacksonesque about it. It wasn't bad, not at all, it just wasn't what I expected.There was something mythic about the descriptions to the whole scenario. It stood in definite contrast with the rest of the series that's so grounded in reality even while being so supernatural.
The showdown with Serafine was interesting. I liked that her motives are never 100% clear. I also liked that Ethan can't help but compare himself to her. He's not completely light either. And I think showing how damaged she was was a clever way to show just how twisted and dark the Keepers were.
And I just wanted to hug Xavier. It made me horribly sad when Ethan said he didn't think Xavier would remember him and I was so happy when Xavier showed up to declare he and Ethan friends.
I absolutely love that this book ended how it did. Loved it. I love that it ends with Ethan and his chocolate milk toast to the people he's lost. This series starts off being about Ethan and his relationship with Lena but it becomes so much more than that. It is so much larger than just them and I think this ending reflects that in a really impressive way. It would have been so easy to end it on Ethan and Lena physically together but I well and truly love that it didn't end that way.
There's something so beautifully bittersweet about the way the series ends. The last few pages with Ethan reflecting on what happened and what he's lost is what I considered the perfect ending. He has lost so much. So many people to this horrible war. There's been so much sacrifice in the series that I think it needed to be acknowledged rather than just focusing on the fact that the people who are alive are together. These books delved so much into the after-life and what the people who die still mean to the living that I don't think an ending with just Ethan and Lena together would have suited what Garcia and Stohl has done.
One of the things that struck me through the series was the power of words. It morphs from being the power of other people's words. In both the things that other people were saying about Lena and the spoken nature of the casts. By the end it's literally the written word having the power to change fate. It's an interesting progression.
All of that being said I still think Beautiful Chaos is my favorite of the series. Beautiful Redemption is a wonderful end, especially the very end, but Beautiful Chaos just worked perfectly to me.
Overall, I give Beautiful Redemption a rating of: Massively Epic.
I still haven't fully processed that the series is over yet. It feels so weird. But I really enjoy that these work as one long story. Some series are very serialized but this one could really have been one long book.
What did you ducks think? Which was your favorite? What did you think of the end? Did it end how you wanted it to?
I'm going to be reading Rainbow Rowell's Attachments next. It's another library read. I'm interested to see how it goes.
Until next time,