MEANS AND ENDS
By the end of the second novel, and before we begin this final book in the series, we know several things. First, Lara Casnoff and her sister, the headmistress of Hex Hall, are the villains. Second, we know that they have convinced the Council that Sophie and her father are double-traitors. Third, we know that the Council has pronounced the sentence of Removal against both Sophie and her father, that the procedure has already been completed on the father and that a binding spell has been placed on Sophie’s power pending the procedure.
Next, we know that Archer has been captured and sentenced for execution. We also know that the Eye has attacked Thorne Abbey and it is burning to the ground with Archer and Sophie’s father trapped in a cell inside. And finally, we know that Cal has gone back inside the burning mansion after sending Sophie through a travel portal to find her mother.
Seventeen days after Sophie steps into the portal, the third book begins. The portal finally spits Sophie out and she finds herself at the Brannick compound, the base of another enemy to the Prodigium. The binding spell is still in place but she can feel her powers beneath it. Unfortunately, without her powers, her only strengths are her intelligence and her defense training.
Sophie does find her mother at the compound, only to learn that Grace Mercer, her mother, is really Grace Brannick, a woman exiled from the demon-hunting clan because she gave birth to a demon child. And the final lie of omission is exposed with Sophie learning that real reason they have never lived in one place for very long – they were on the run from not only the Eye but the Brannicks, too.
Now, for the remaining pages of the book, we will follow Sophie as she embarks on a journey to get her powers back and as she plots to defeat the Casnoffs. It is a journey that is hard-fought for both Sophie and the reader. This may be a paranormal romantic suspense based in the YA genre, but it is hardly a cutesy piece of fluff. This book actually leans more toward a psychological thriller with bits of Stephen King horror thrown in.
Hawkins has created an urban fantasy world with depth and backbone. There are rules and reasons behind the behaviors and rules surrounding the magic. And there is no suspension of disbelief required beyond believing that such a world can exist in the first place.
Because it is a realistic fantasy world that Hawkins creates, there is bound to be some real pain mixed in with the happy. The very nature of this genre predicts that Sophie will succeed. But, as you read Chapter 32, that misty feeling behind your eyes will not be tears of joy. In fact, I will probably never hear the phrase “It’s okay” again without remembering. Even writing about it makes me cry.
Cover Art from Goodreads