Oh my goodness, this is the LAST ONE. I can finally rest easy knowing that the werewolves and assorted characters of supernatural Denver aren’t going to get into any more scrapes. I really shouldn’t need to spoiler warn for the last book in a 14-book series, but here’s your warning anyway.
I’ve complained, sometimes at length, about this series the more it’s gone on. But I have enjoyed it! I promise! It still has problems, but I liked the way the aftermath of the climax felt, which was basically “earned”. A good sign.
So, my main problem leading up to this one was that we had no idea of the whole stakes at all. We find out in this one that our intrepid band has – off-screen – decoded the book of shadows that contains all of a slightly deluded wizard’s research and notes. Roman’s plan is to set off volcanoes, an ability he’s credited with in Kitty in the Underworld when it’s hinted that he set off Mount Vesuvius, and he intends to fire off the Yellowstone supervolcano. To do this he needs a load of stuff and time and effort, pretty much all of which he has, and it’s up to our heroes to stop him. My suspicions about Amelia are completely unfounded, and she’s basically just Cormac’s Wizard Knowledge in this one. It’s a bit unfair to say that all the good vampires remain good and the bad ones remain bad – Rick’s unwilling replacement, who has spent all his time as Master of Denver trying to explain that he doesn’t want the job and would be too weak to stand up for himself manages to be too weak to stand up for himself and half-heartedly betrays the gang.
A few characters who left us along the way (Sun, Anastasia, Rick) come back at the appropriately badass moments and save various days, which was cool, but most of the vampires, even the ones who seemed very willing to stand against Roman and form alliances, just sit back and do nothing (Alette, Ned, the Mistress of Buenos Aires, maybe some of the ~*~European vampires~*~ whose names I’ve forgotten). Is this vampire politics? Is it the Long Game? No idea, because no one ever mentions them, ever.
Oh, and the Bigger Badder Bad? I called it. Not that it was a surprise. Satan himself (or, fine, Lucifer) strolls into Kitty’s office to try to get her to give up on trying to get in the way of Roman’s plans, offering her things in a very Luciferian tempting way, and using the alias Lightman because apparently he wants to make this really easy for us to guess. The demon comes back a few times, dropping cryptic hints. Kitty still has no idea until he shows up again and actually tells her. The background is pretty much as I suspected right from the second the demon called Kitty a traitor. Werewolves and vampires are all supposed to be working evil in Lucifer’s name.
There was one moment when I thought she’d been actually dragged to Hell and I was ready to sigh exasperatedly, but it was actually the caldera of Yellowstone’s supervolcano so it actually worked out quite nicely (with elements of “hell is a place on earth” thrown in, which I must admit sort of jarred with the overarching “every god is real” universe the stories are firmly set in).
Anyway, old antagonists are killed off and scores settled. Plans are tried and failed. Kitty gets kidnapped again – honestly, a plot device annoying just because it freaks Ben out. Usually Kitty manages to do some productive stuff when she’s kidnapped. Like, you know, defeat Roman. Well, you knew she would. The title says she does it. And as so often happens in books where the baddies are too strong, Lucifer just decides that Roman’s loss is the end of the round, and returns to wherever, to try again in future. But it felt sort of right here. With so many characters who have lived untold centuries, there’s much more of a feel of history (though very little in the way of vampire politics!) so this hard-won but temporary victory still feels solid; it’s been done before, by others.
The very ending is cheesy. There’s no escaping it. But I was still glad it happened. After all the hijinks and shenanigans and stress of the last almost-fourteen books, Kitty deserved her reward. And I suppose I can’t ask for much more than that.