*Warning: Contains spoilers for previous books in the series*
Having thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the series, I was pleased to return to Engelsfors for the final book by Sara B Elfgren and Mats Strandberg, The Key.
After the shocking conclusion to book two, the Chosen Ones have dwindled to four members out of seven, leaving their circle with some devastating gaps. Anna-Karin, Minoo, Linnéa and Vanessa know that the apocalypse is approaching, but they still have no idea how to close the portal in Engelsfors, or even where the portal is located. After all the strange happenings in the town, the magical energy is only growing stronger and causing further disturbances, as each of the seven elements will manifest in some form as a sign that the portal is ready to activate.
It is Minoo who is separated from the other Chosen Ones in this book, as the guardians tell her that her magic is the strongest of all and that she will be the one responsible for closing the portal. She is persuaded to practice with a new circle that has been formed in association with the Council, one which already has a witch for each element. With the Chosen Ones being so few, there is the fear that they are no longer capable of preventing the apocalypse without the deceased members of the circle, making Minoo question which circle she should belong to.
With tensions running high, it is no surprise that Minoo has arguments with Linnéa, further forcing her to seeking refuge with her new circle. This book throws up even more problems for the troubled Linnéa, as she has to cope with a court trial after Erik and Robin admit to breaking into her flat in the last book. The court will drag up every bit of dirt they can to make Linnéa seem like a liar, but instead of seeking the support of her friends her initial reaction is to push them away. This particularly applies to Vanessa, who has finally realised that she reciprocates Linnéa’s love for her, but has to deal with Linnéa’s fear of happiness and the ease with which it can be snatched away.
Once again, these books have an incredibly vast plotline to sum up in just a few paragraphs, as there is so much going on for each character, and not just the Chosen Ones as a whole. I haven’t mentioned Anna-Karin’s family struggles or the relationship dilemma faced by Minoo, or even the clever way of integrating the deceased Chosen Ones into the plot of this last instalment. Needless to say, there is a lot that goes on these books and it all contributes to the plot in some shape or form. I would say that there are few extraneous details, as even the relationship drama is integral to the development of the characters. With all the stress of their magical responsibilities, it is easy to forget that this group are teenagers and that they still face the same problems as any other teenager.
I think I particularly enjoyed the story of Linnéa and Vanessa in this book, as we have seen their friendship develop in the previous books and now it is being taken further. It is handled particularly well by the authors, as the characters are comfortable with each other and build things up gradually, with the perspectives of each character giving a balanced view of the relationship. We get to see Vanessa’s joy at finally sharing her feelings, having a renewed hope that she has found a relationship that will last. Then we see all of Linnéa’s fears, as she is the happiest that she has ever been with Vanessa, but thinks deep down that she will end up ruining what they have and that she will still be alone. I think they were a good balance for each other, and that they are one of the indicators of hope at the close of the book.
I won’t say too much about how this series ends, as I think the authors did a good job in tying up all the loose ends that have been created throughout, even bringing back some old faces to make sure that their stories also come to a close. I think that given the huge wealth of characters, this series has done a great job at keeping track of them all, making sure that you remember each one when they reappear without having to go over old plotlines. I also loved the further development of magic in this book, as each Chosen One seems to develop a new ability and strength, which manifests slowly rather than giving them instant power. There are also a few surprises when it comes to new magic users, as more people begin to find out about the Chosen Ones.
All in all, I have enjoyed this series from start to finish and think that Elfgren and Strandberg have created a truly unique world with Engelsfors, incorporating a vast mix of characters and ensuring that everyone can find someone to associate with. They also manage to mix comedy and severity seamlessly, often transforming supposedly amusing moments into those of seriousness and danger. The reason I haven’t given this book a higher rating is because there were still moments when I wasn’t as hooked as I could have been, but this could be a translation point rather than a problem with the actual plotlines. As far as the ending goes, there are still questions to be answered in Engelsfors but they are suggested in a futuristic and hopeful way, and not in the way that might beg for an additional book. There is a sense of closure for the Chosen Ones, which is exactly as it should be for such an intense and action-packed trilogy. Verdict
Another stellar addition to the series, this book manages to conclude everything in a unique and unexpected way, following the trend of unpredictability that had been set with the first two books. I particularly loved the continuing development of the characters, as their bonds grow even closer as they work together to prevent the apocalypse, finally realising that teamwork and trust is what will give them the advantage. Once again, I enjoyed the many character perspectives featured throughout this series, and this time there seems to be more importance attributed to events than ever before. There are shocks and surprises throughout, as the book deals with adolescent relationships alongside the impending apocalypse, leaving us with a thought-provoking conclusion that still manages to tie up loose ends. Rating: 4 Stars
The Key by Sara B Elfgren & Mats Strandberg (Engelsfors #3) Horror, Young Adult Cornerstone (29 Jan 2015) Ebook: 670 pages
I liked the narrator's voice but the structure of the book was all over the place and the writing wasn't great. However, the stories were good, it hadI liked the narrator's voice but the structure of the book was all over the place and the writing wasn't great. However, the stories were good, it had so much potential to be a fun, funny, sexy read about a gay guy's pursuits for cock. Shame the editors at Kensington didn't see the potential I did, it could have been so much more....more
Started out ok, but after a while the narrator felt all wrong for the character and genre. She had a very "chick-lit" tone rather than a voice for DNF
Started out ok, but after a while the narrator felt all wrong for the character and genre. She had a very "chick-lit" tone rather than a voice for erotic romance. Also, after at least half way through it became a sex fest. Sex, sex, sex. Maybe this wouldn't have been so obvious if I'd read the book, but listening to the audiobook it was really evident, and became very repetitive with no actual storyline. ...more
Was an ok story, but nothing groundbreaking. The narrator had a lovely voice but just needed a little more acting when changing characters, then it wo Was an ok story, but nothing groundbreaking. The narrator had a lovely voice but just needed a little more acting when changing characters, then it would have been spot on. Will definitely try the next book in the series when I want something light to listen to....more
Good story, well written and narrated. Ended a bit too soon in my opinion, and although I really liked the characters I didn't quite believe the loveGood story, well written and narrated. Ended a bit too soon in my opinion, and although I really liked the characters I didn't quite believe the love between Horse and Marie. Liked the writing so will definitely listen to book two when it's released....more
DNF : Couldn't really get on with the narrator, especially when she went into man mode. The voice she put on for the hero was really grating. Shame as DNF : Couldn't really get on with the narrator, especially when she went into man mode. The voice she put on for the hero was really grating. Shame as the actual story wasn't too bad. May read this one rather than listen....more
Well narrated as usual by Annie Aldington, however, story wasn't as good as previous books containing DI Kate Burrows. A bit too much repetition with Well narrated as usual by Annie Aldington, however, story wasn't as good as previous books containing DI Kate Burrows. A bit too much repetition with regards to the relationship between Kate and Patrick, even though I love them. The ending was bittersweet, but fitting. ...more
Audiobook: Narrated by Jane Collingwood, who did a great job. Book started out ok but became progressively slow and dull. It's a light read, but didn' Audiobook: Narrated by Jane Collingwood, who did a great job. Book started out ok but became progressively slow and dull. It's a light read, but didn't keep my attention as I kept drifting off and had to rewind to listen to chapters again....more
Audiobook: 3.5 Stars A well narrated story that was both disturbing and intriguing in equal measure. My first Martina Cole book, which will definitely Audiobook: 3.5 Stars A well narrated story that was both disturbing and intriguing in equal measure. My first Martina Cole book, which will definitely not be my last. ...more