Top positive review
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I resisted reading this book based on the many poor reviews.
on July 23, 2014
NO SPOILERS HERE: I am late to the party because I resisted reading this book based on the many poor reviews. Moreover, it is the last book, and I wanted to savior it when I had no other book waiting. Finally, I got to that point and popped it open. I usually don't write a review until I am finished but I am only about half way through: Yet, I am so enthralled, so blown-away by what I've experienced so far that I had to write now.
This is vintage White at his best. All the things we have come to love about him are here so far, but with a sense of urgency and desperation that breaks your heart. It all seems to be falling apart or coming together: I'll know soon. Who will be left standing? What truths will be revealed? What freedoms will be lost or gained? It all remains to be seen. I'm going to start reading slower to postpone the inevitable. It's my choice, but not Alan's Gregory's as his world and all he thought he knew is racing beyond his control to a collision.
Maybe I will be disappointed in the end. I have scanned reviews that suggest some readers are disappointed, but I can't imagine why. Stephen White is one of the greatest writers of this era. He is keenly intelligent, thoughtful, creates complex characters and plots, and surprises with such skill and thorough writing.
Maybe the bad reviews are like people who "diss" the best lover they ever had. As that lover chooses to walk out the door, they feel such rage at their loss that love turns to criticism.
Stephen White chose to stop writing this series. He explained why on his website. At one point, he alluded that the devolution of publishing practices contributed to his decision. Now like scorned lovers, we, his devoted readers are left alone, but through no fault of our own.
We are victims of circumstance and must buffer a great loss. So must Alan Gregory.
Author Stephen White channels what primal level loss and chaos feels like so expertly in this final book. If you are a Stephen White fan, it is not to be missed. Try it for yourself. Don't let the bad reviews persuade you. Read it with an open mind and enjoy the last thrilling ride with Stephen White and Alan Gregory. Read it as if it's not the last. Read it as if you are not already disappointed because it's over. Read it slowly to savor what we will likely not see again.
If you are new to this series, don't start here: go back to the beginning. If you are familiar and have not discovered Louise Penny, go find her series and start from the beginning.
Update: So far this book has not disappointed. When I wrote the original review I was about 52% per my Kindle. Now, I am at 86% and I can't keep reading. I don't want it to end. So, I went back to about 74%, and I am rereading just to make the pleasure last. The intricate details are all coming together. Of course, all remains to be seen, but I've enjoyed some funny and poignant moments between the characters as this all builds to an end. The interaction between Alan and Sam while discussing trust issues was worth the price of the book. Never have I enjoyed the psychological exploration of characters so much. This has been a worthy end to a classic series.