"History is truth. Truth is freedom. Freedom is life."
Sigh. The end of an era. Yet I feel like I've completed a journey with these characters, quite like the end of Buffy, where it ended just like it should have (until it didn't, but actually, still ended up pretty perfect). Firstly, if you're not familiar with my general feelings on this series please see my previous reviews.
Now you're all caught up, my feelings on the final instalment. And I'll try my hardest not to give spoilers.
In A Dance of Lies, our heroes (Nate, Thom and Kitty) finally got the catalyst to do what they've all really been needing and wanting to do, deep down, since all the crap that happened in the previous books. ALL the crap. Lies, betrayal, theft of liberty, enforced marriage, rape, murder, plague and imprisonment...and all that jazz. Not to mention all the people that came and went in their lives; those who believed in a new world, those who subscribed to the old.
But this finale is not just about righting governmental wrongs. It's an important message about loyalty, trust, and integrity. That those you might not come to agreement with on a daily basis might still serve as that support under a broader threat. That those who seem to be your enemies might only appear so superficially, and something deeper and more unifying might dissolve all those barriers.
I particularly loved the interactions between Nate and Charles, who we knew, of course, were so similar in personality they were bound the clash dramatically, due to the circumstance. but who also found their common ground, and managed to unify the people around them.Thom, whose horrific experiences led him down a path dramatically different to what had been expected of him, and also, it seems, were entirely expected of him, occasionally made me want to just slap him, but that's because I love him and the others and this emotional rollercoaster was just immense and I wanted what's best for them...and breathe.
"This is not a world where friends fall out of the skies... We haven't met anyone worth knowing in a very long time."
Rebecca Crunden managed to keep not only mystery and suspense in what she describes as a jigsaw puzzle of a series, but managed to ensure the characters stayed true to themselves, whilst still taking their individual journeys, growing and evolving with their experiences, and fighting to overcome their deepest fears. She ensures the nuances of our each of their past actions still resonated throughout, and that those woven threads from the previous four books were nicely rounded. The characters are different enough that their opposing views and opinions don't dictate, they offer multi-faceted argument for rounded protagonists.
I'm not going to spoil the ending, but I will tell you I almost didn't want to read it because, well, it would have then ended, but also because I might not have been able to deal with the fallout...Suffice to say, I am still intact emotionally - just - and satisfied with the rounding up of The Outlands Pentalogy.
If you are fed to the teeth with dystopian fiction being aimed at teenagers (and, a little insultingly, dumbed down for them, too), then go on a layered, heart-wrenching and emotionally-complex journey from a fantastic indie author who deserves to be vastly read.