One thing's for sure: Wendy Higgins knows how to bring on the feels.
As the last book in the series, I was expecting this novel to go out with a huge bang. The first two installments, after all, were building up to an amazingly epic war between good vs. evil, those rightfully tossed from Heaven and those who want to return and have earned the right to do so. And well, that battle did take place, I suppose, if you're more for drama and antics and some cat-fighting as opposed to an all out war. I wanted the war. If I wasn't expecting the war then perhaps I would have been satisfied with the ending, but I feel almost misled. Higgins hinted that a war was coming for the previous two books and well...the war did not come. What took the place of the war was something that could occur among a rowdy group of people who had a little too much to drink alongside some crazy attempts to incite war that didn't invoke enough rage in anyone, and my disappointment was palpable. I am not the happiest of campers currently.
Another issue I had with this book was Kaiden. In the past, I loved his obsession with sex. He's the Son of Lust and it's his job. He knows what he is good at and he's there to cater to all. But this book it just got annoying. I felt like I was dealing with a 13 year old at times. There's a difference between a burning passion for sex and outright addiction that gets old after it's mentioned twice. His inclinations got way too old way too fast. There wasn't much variety and his thoughts were constantly muddied. Sure, he had his sweet moments, but they felt overpowered by sex at times. It frustrated me that the world could potentially come to an end with the sins running rampant if they lose the final battle and he's preoccupied with sex, so much so that simply patting his leg makes him moan at a dinner table with ten other people. Just stop, I can't handle this. It was very hard to take him seriously at times.
There's also way too much craziness in this plot to wrap your head around at once. I had trouble figuring out if I enjoyed this book or not because of this. There's a baby, there's sex, there's cheating, there's drinking, there's questioning sex before marriage, couples from the past hooking up while others break-up, actual marriages, death, demons, and so much more. And, typically, while I enjoy juicy plots, I don't like plots full of shenanigans. At times, I had trouble taking things seriously. I didn't really know, at all, what to think about the fact that there would be a baby in the midst--not to mention the fact that the mother of the child went into war and participated in battle while pregnant. I can't wrap my head around it! I can't wrap my head around the sex and all of this so-called amazing planning, yet having no fall-backs. I just couldn't take certain things seriously or I'm still trying to piece together my thoughts.
I think these struggles made themselves known when it came to some of the books ideals. One thing was the whole "sex before marriage thing." Anna can't have sex before marriage despite true love because she'd be considered impure, but if she has sex after a marriage consisting of a friend getting ordained and a husband in surfer pants, that's totally fine. I think that some people will agree with this and some won't, and for those who disagree with this ideal may be slightly frustrated. That's all I'm saying on the matter.
However, the thing that bugged me most was the half-naked selfie Anna sent Kaiden. At one point in the story she was missing him and she pretty much took a picture of the lower half of her body, still in underwear, but in a suggestive pose and, well, not that covered. She then freaked out and was all nervous after she sent it and felt empowered when Kaiden replied about how he just couldn't contain himself. This struck a chord with me because there was a scandal nearby my hometown with minor's spreading naked pictures because the girls felt as if they were validated if they could make their boyfriend's happy. I don't really agree with the fact that a girl has to feel empowered by showing herself off sexually. She can feel empowered by catching a guy's eyes out on the street. It's not necessary and I don't really like the message that I perceived from that scene.
In-between the frustration and the pet peeves mentioned above and the romancing, the waiting, and the running, this story was pretty solid. It was full of love between friends, Kopano still being one of my all-time favorites, and love between family as displayed by Anna, Patti, and her Father. It's really a story full of relationships and tragedy and fighting for what's right, but I can't help but be disappointed with everything mentioned above after I loved the first two books so much.
What truly redeemed this book in my eyes was the epilogue. Though cliche in the best possible way, I wouldn't have wanted this book to end any other way. It tied up all loose ends and made it impossible not to smile. And you can't help but root for all of the couples in this one, they're just so perfect together.
Good job, Wendy Higgins. I'm definitely curious to see what else you'll write for us in the future.
Warning: There is sexual instances, violence, a "nude" photo, murder, death, and underage drinking that may make young children uncomfortable.