Jess's Reviews > The FitzOsbornes at War

The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper
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's review
Apr 02, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-all, 2012-new, own-ebook, ya-historical, young-adult
Read from April 01 to 02, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Okay, we'll get my first two major reactions out of the way first, and then I'll talk about them (and the rest of it) more.

2) Rupert, REALLY?!

So this was pretty much a perfect book and way to wrap the trilogy up. My biggest beef with it was shipping related and it's not like I didn't see it coming, it was just that I didn't WANT to see it coming. And since my basic stance on Sophie's life is whatever Sophie wants, Sophie deserves, fine.

Sophie wants Rupert, Sophie gets Rupert.

And there's nothing WRONG with Rupert. He's a good, decent man who has always been besotted with Sophie, and who will certainly make a better husband than Simon would have for the simple reason that Rupert will always love Sophie best and even though I DO believe that Simon and Sophie loved each other in their own way (and okay, the one thing that REALLY irritated me about the book was Sophie talking herself out of what she felt for Simon, because no, love is not the same with every person and she SHOULDN'T have felt the same way about both of them), Simon would never have loved her like that. That was a really terrible, convoluted sentence, I'm sorry. But anyway, all of this isn't to say that Rupert and Sophie aren't incredibly sweet together, because they are. It's just one of my biggest writing pet peeves to see authors to tear down what was to show how awesome what is is.

I did love that Simon and Sophie got that one night, though. Because it was necessary and had been building for two books and if it hadn't happened at all that would have been even more of a cop out. And I was immeasurably proud of Sophie for saying no in that moment, even though it would have been the easiest thing in the world for her to say yes, because she DOES deserve a man that will propose to her out of love and not soul wrenching loneliness and guilt.

And I don't even know how to segue out of there properly, so I guess we'll talk about Toby? Toby who grows up SO MUCH throughout this book even though he's off the page for so much of it. Toby who goes to war a boy and comes back an extremely battered but ultimately determined man, who just wants to go home.

Tobias FitzOsborne, I love you.

I love that he marries Julia, and that even though it's a marriage of convenience for both of them it doesn't mean that it's not a good marriage of convenience. I love that we're left with the implication that the marriage is actually more like Simon/Toby/Julia, which, that is some impressive subtext she managed to work into a YA novel. Because we were supposed to believe that Davey was Simon's son, right? There's not another way to read that, is there? I can't imagine another way to read that.

I could talk about how awesome Sophie's adventures were to read (SHE'S A SPY!!!!) and how well done I thought the life during war stuff was, but I suppose the time has come to talk about Henrietta Charlotte FitzOsborne.

Of all of the characters I thought I had to worry about in this book, I confess that Henry never even made my list. And why should she have? For all that she was a charming and complete character in her own right, I saw her the way that Sophie saw her, as a kid. Kids aren't supposed to die in wars. GIRLS aren't supposed to die in wars, at least not that war. And of course those are ridiculous SAFE conceptions from someone who's life has been mostly untouched by such things.

But Henry dies, and if it's not the brave, heroic death she might have wished for, at least she was finally being allowed to be who she was when it happened. For me, the reader, there was some comfort in that, even if I'd rather she stayed alive and able to see the day when Montmaray would be home to the FitzOsbornes once more.

Just, ugh. These books are so good. Even when the choices Michelle Cooper makes aren't the ones I want her to make, I get why she's making them and that's even better, really. I am so, so pleased that I got to spend time with this wonderful, offbeat, mess of a family, and I am sad that there will be no more books to be had.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a series to start rereading.
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Grace YES, YES, YES, re: your thoughts on that thing we agree on. That was another thing that I didn't realize bugged me when I was reading, because I was pretty much bugged by the whole thing, but the amount of build up, then to be dismissive of it in order to build the other thing up.

And yes, we have to believe Davey is Simon's son. THAT IS MY STORY AND I'M STICKING TO IT. I love the Julia/Toby/(?Simon) marriage, THAT IS GREAT.

Jess And you know, thinking about it more, it wasn't just Simon/Sophie that it ended up being dismissive of.

Simon and Toby's relationship had ended YEARS earlier, presumably for reasons that made sense to Simon at the time and I get that suddenly getting a second chance because he's not DEAD might make you reconsider some things, but that's a pretty big 180. I'm happy that Toby got the happy ending he wanted so badly, but I feel like it sort of came at Simon's expense? All of the romance came at Simon's expense.

Ugh, this is making it sound like I didn't like it AND I SWEAR THAT'S NOT THE CASE.

Grace YES. THAT'S A GOOD POINT. In Book 2, Simon's reasoning for it seems fairly straightforward and clear to me. And yes, they've changed, but you're right that the romance all came at Simon's expense. Did he get a happy ending in all this? It's hard to tell.


Jess So maybe what I want to ask for for Yuletide is a happy ending for Simon. Which feels like a weird place to end up, since these books are so clearly about Sophie for me.


Grace I LIKE THAT IDEA. I am all for it! And the books may be about Sophie (AND THEY ARE), but the rest of the crazy family is so wonderful that you can't help but want them all to get their happy ending.

Jess I'm just trying to come up with a good way to put it. Because I am not adverse to either Sophie or Toby (or both) being part of his happy ending. I would just like to know for sure that it IS his happy ending. Does that make any sense?

Grace It makes PERFECT SENSE. I wish there was a way we could know more about what happened to him after he disappeared. I get that he had to go away, but we never find out what happened while he was there. Other than a brief mention of an engagement (?).

Jess I don't think that was real. I think that was just Sophie speculating as to what Simon could have told Toby since he hadn't told HER anything. And well, Simon being Simon, it's not like it was out of the question.

Grace THAT MAKES MORE SENSE. It makes basically no sense at all as a throwaway line.

message 11: by Anne (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne Stockwell Good review but you really NEED TO PUT UP A SPOILER ALERT. I saw your review before I read the book, stopped reading (the review) almost immediately, but the damage had been done, and I know it colored my experience of the book.

message 12: by Jess (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jess It is under a spoiler alert? It says so at the very top. I apologize if you got spoiled, but it wasn't my fault.

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