ARC provided by Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review.
This review pains me to write because I was truly expecting a 5 star read.
I have always thought highly of this series. I loved how Caraval focused on a game and the actors within the game. I loved how Legendary expanded that world and introduced us to the Fates. I truly believe this series could’ve just been a duology; extend Legendary to be a slightly longer book, tie up some loose ends, and call it a wrap. I really don’t understand the point of Finale at all.
Finale introduces us to a new villain which… seems like an odd time to bring in a new villain. We already met Jacks in Legendary, and in my opinion, he was the perfect “bad guy.” But we get introduced to the ACTUAL villain who is a Fate. And this Fate wants to destroy basically everyone and take Legend’s place. I just really didn’t understand the point of him at all and he was so “mustache twirly” that I had to roll my eyes at all his scenes.
So let’s talk about Tella and Scarlett. In this book the POV’s alternate between the two sisters, which I actually did like because we got to follow their own little journeys within the story. However, Scarlett was so childish in this book I JUST CANNOT. From the very beginning of the book she decides she wants to string Julian along, and then have Julian and Nicolas compete for her? What kind of childish game is this? I truly do not understand her motivations behind this AT ALL.
Tella is my favorite of the two sisters but she also did some things that were questionable. She kept seeking solace from Jacks, who is, you know… a villain… and would then be surprised that he *gasp* did a villainous thing. Girl, why? Also, Jacks literally tries to give her a heart attack in order to get what he wants from Legend, but then later tells Tella he “didn’t mean to” and would never hurt her? Excuse me? But you literally just gave her a heart attack, dude. I was always Team Jacks but that scene was so unnecessary to me.
And speaking of Jacks (who was my favorite character from Legendary.) His character really got reduced down to be a minor side character who only showed up at convenient times to sweep Tella off her feet. I truly didn’t understand his purpose and felt zero closure with him.
I was also really excited to be introduced to the other Fates, but they all also felt like very minor side characters who didn’t seem to play a pivotal role in the entire story.
Here’s the thing: I’ve always loved the world of Caraval, but in Finale I felt like most of the time we were being TOLD. It’s full of characters speaking in long paragraphs telling us about the history of something or about another character. It really dragged and made me lose focus. I don’t want to be told everything; I want to see it. Also I refuse to even acknowledge the time-travel loophole because that’s my least favorite trope used to tie up a loose end.
This was my most anticipated release of 2019 and I am just kind of feeling neutral about how it all ended? I didn’t hate it, but I just didn’t love it either. I know my review sounds super ranty, but I loved being back in the world and with these characters again. I will also forever love Dante because he’s such a sweet guy. Also I think Stephanie Garber is the loveliest human and I will still read everything she writes. I guess I can hope there will be a spin-off for this series?