At long last. I finally read this book. AT LONG LAST. (Spoilers for books 1-2 under the cut.)
There’s something a little bittersweet about final books in series. It’s the point you’ve been trying to get to all this time; it’s the grand finale where (you hope) all the questions get answered. But at the same time, this is the last book you have in that world. Assuming the author doesn’t come back to it for some reason, this is the last time you’ll ever see these characters again. So not only does it need to clear up all the chaos that the previous two books have wrought, but it also should leave you satisfied that you’ve completed your journey with these people.
THE HARVEST does this incredibly well.
There was a lot to clear up in this book, honestly. We still had Cael’s Blight – not to mention Wanda’s – to worry about. Nothing was clear about our various love arrangements. Pretty much everyone was in some kind of danger. And above all else: what was going to happen with the corn?
I know I’m missing pretty much all the major conflicts up there, but honestly it’d take another half hour for me to get my book, go through it all, write it all down…and then you’d have no reason to read the book yourself. Go read the book. Go read all the books. Why haven’t you read them yet. (Why are you reading this before you read books one and two? GO.)
In a lot of ways, this book had a lot to live up to just in terms of existence for me personally. It’s one of my Book Three Blights, so it’s been in my possession longer than the rest of the series. I’ve been waiting and watching for months, just so I could read this one. It’s also a Chuck Wendig book, and after having the several brief interactions with him that I have on the Interwebs, there is a level of writing I expect from him. I expect him to be better than average; I expect him to surprise me just a little.
And he did not let me down.
I think some people may find the ultimate “conclusion” to what happens with Hiram’s Golden Prolific (that’s still such a cool name) a little anti-climactic, but in all honesty, I think it was perfect. It makes so much sense with the characters as we’ve met them, it doesn’t introduce anything that wasn’t previously brought up, and it provides the perfect answer. As much as I liked the Harpies as characters, I’m not entirely sure they added a great deal…? I mean, the thought of any group rising up against the regime to overthrow that with which they disagree makes perfect sense; I just would have liked to see more indication of the Harpies as a thing before they suddenly appeared. (Though the detail of their kintsugi/kintsukuroi scars is awesome.)
And, as so many conclusions do, we lose a few well-beloved characters. One I was not surprised by, though still very sad about it. THE OTHER I AM DEVASTATED BY. YOU TRICKED ME, WENDIG. YOU MADE ME THINK HE WAS DEAD, AND THEN HE WASN’T, AND THEN HE WAS AGAIN. I AM MAD. >:| THIS IS MY MAD FACE. DAMN YOU, MY FAVORITE CHARACTER.
But unlike some authors (who may or may not write large epics with songs and ice and fire in the title) Wendig doesn’t just kill people to raise the death count. Each major character death matters. Each one is for a reason, and furthers the plot. So even when the death rips your heart out and smashes on the floor a few times before lighting it on fire, you know it happened for a good cause.
(I am reminded of when Norrington was killed in Pirates of the Caribbean. *sobs quietly*)
And most of all, HARVEST gives one of the most satisfactory epilogues I’ve ever read. My biggest “concern” with the series was what was going to happen between the Cael-Wanda-Gwennie triangle…and I was not disappointed. I am genuinely happy with the way it pans out, and think that it’s absolutely the best decision. (Also, Amaranth is one of my favorite names of all time. So thank you for that, Chuck.)
Very pleased with the whole thing. As much as I love the characters and will miss them, I believe their story is over, and I am satisfied with the ending. Well done, sir. Well done.
Rating: **** (Recommended)