No offense to everyone’s favorite princess, Kate, but I was more excited for the finale to this series than that wedding everyone was buzzing about a few years ago. I think what I loved the most about this finale is just how much America and Maxon, and even Apen grow.
The first book I was really annoyed with the love sick puppy that was America, maybe that’s because I’m seasoned in the relationship arena and am not a Young Adult, but we soon see her begin to realize that what she has with Aspen is certainly her first love, but probably not her true love.
Then the second book! We lean more about each character, American and Maxon learn more about each other, and we learn more about the rebellions – a lot of learning. I felt like America took a backwards step in this book though, she was starting to be happy with Maxon, then started to second guess him again. Maxon always acted as our realist I felt, where America is emotional and rash, and Aspen and his eternal pining didn’t help. I don’t hate Aspen, I really don’t, he’s a good guy, but I don’t like his influence over America, she forgets herself when she’s with him. At the palace we see her start to come into her own, think of things outside of her own bubble, and begin to notice that she can have a real influence on the country, and that she’s a stronger person with Maxon than she ever was with Aspen.
Cue third and final installment! At the end of the second book America has the revelation that she is going to fight for Maxon, well for the first 1/3 of the book she disappoints me and reverts back to her old ways of being petty and jealous and dishonest and doubting Maxon’s feelings. I can understand part of it, it can’t be fun competing for your boyfriends attention. Similarly, Maxon finds every excuse to doubt her and think the worst. Basically I wanted to reach into the pages and shake both of them and make them drop their pride and tell each other the truth – hmm. . . some Pride and Prejudice relationship influences?
I did like the prominence of the rebels in this one, though I felt like it was still a bit underdeveloped at the end, but the main point of the story was the selection process and the love story so I guess I understand. I think the rebellion acted best as a way to push America and Maxon to stand up for themselves against the king. As a catalyst then, I guess the rebellion ran its course in that sense. Once the two of them stopped being stupid and actually opened up to each other I was really pleased, they were acting like grownups and working together, and they were amazing! Then stupid Aspen got in the way again, though we all know it was a big misunderstanding, and Maxon turned into a total ass. I understand he was hurt and upset, but he was completely irrational, and I thought that was way overdone given all that the two of them had gone through to get to a solid point in their relationship.
But hey! Nothing like a near death experience to put everything back on track! I expected the king to die, and Maxon to take over immediately, and for him to have a plan for a restructuring of the caste system, but as I said earlier, I was disappointed in the resolution with the rebellions, especially since we found out that America’s dad was part of the rebellion all along. I’m glad America wasn’t tough on Maxon after his blow up, it really showed just how much she had grown, she just wanted him to be happy and at least she had been brave enough to tell him how she really felt. Maxon didn’t disappoint either though, he knew he had been an ass and it was completely inappropriate, I think his reaction really showed his lack of self worth, after how his father treated him he really didn’t believe he would have the opportunity to be happy and make the changes he believed in. Without his father, and with the realization he almost lost America, he got his act together and had an epiphany. And then we had our royal wedding!
Overall, I was quit pleased with the series finale. I was really impressed with the growth of all the characters, Celeste illustrated that the best. And I think there was a great overall message about relationships, especially for the young adult targeted audience. A lot of young people get so wrapped up in relationships without first discovering who they are on their own (America in book 2, keeping both boys at arms length). Then when you do find the one you decide is worth fighting for, you have to maintain your individual identity while learning how to make it work with someone else and challenge and support each other. This last bit we really saw in this last book, there was so much they had to trust each other with, and they had some issues, but that’s reality, and that’s what I think really ended this series on a high note; it was a fairytale romance faced with the real issues of committing to a grown up relationship.
Honestly, before this third book I wasn’t called to re-read the entire series, but I think I will now (a bit farther down the road). This last book I think was the strongest of the series and resolved so many of the issues I had with characters and patterns in the earlier books – going to have to add this one to the regular book rotation.