I’m kinda conflicted about this one, and it makes me sad, since I wanted to love it so much.
It’s not the change in characters so late in the series (only one more book to go): Hawthorn and Tamburlaine are lovely, especially the little troll’s struggle to understand human society and all its little quirks and unspoken rules that make absolutely no sense.
It’s not even that September and the rest of the characters we know so well are absent for a great part of the book (though, once you get over the book’s tipping point, you keep on thinking that CMV is deliberately hiding them all).
It’s mostly that, after the aforementioned tipping point, it feels rushed, paler than its predecessors, as if both the story and the author were in a hurry and forgot to properly paint the sketch of a scenery we’re running through. If you’ve ever read Catherynne Valente before, you know that luscious language and descriptions are basically what her books are made of, which makes the lack of it even more disconcerting. It makes me wonder if it had something to do with the carpal tunnel issues she had in the last years, which greatly reduced her writing speed, when she could write at all.
I’m still digesting the ending, which feels somewhat both too late and too sudden. It feels like the book needed 50-100 more pages to really get through.