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The revolution has come and gone, with Amberlough City striving to rebuild itself from the ashes. The Ospies have been ousted, and the very face of the nation has been changed in the process.

Now, a rising politician is determined to bring Amberlough’s traitors to justice.

Including double agent Cyril DePaul.

Everyone believes Cyril deserves to suffer for his crimes... except an old lover and an estranged sister. Soon, they become entangled in another web of high-stakes politics, underground crime, and personal deceit. Only the most extreme actions can save them from the iron reach of the law, before it is too late.

384 pages, Paperback

First published April 16, 2019

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About the author

Lara Elena Donnelly

9 books385 followers
Lara Elena Donnelly is the author of the Nebula, Lambda, and Locus-nominated trilogy The Amberlough Dossier, as well as short fiction and poetry appearing in venues including Strange Horizons, Escape Pod, Nightmare, and Uncanny.

Lara has taught in the MFA program at Sarah Lawrence College, as well as the Catapult Workshop in New York. She is a graduate of the Clarion and Alpha writers’ workshops, and has served as on-site staff at the latter, mentoring amazing teens who will someday take over the world of SFF.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 180 reviews
Profile Image for Samantha.
409 reviews16.7k followers
February 1, 2020
I love my chain-smoking, heavy drinking, Art Deco gay criminals.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,083 reviews17.3k followers
January 14, 2023
I am happy to alert you all that this book was in fact better than Armistice.

In the aftermath of the Ospie removal in Gedda, Cyril DePaul reunites with Amberlough city. Lillian DePaul tries to seduce establishment politician Frye and former-Catwalk member Saeger, hoping against hope to keep her position in the interim government with her husband Jinadh and their kid, Stephen. And Aristide, along with his lover Daoud Qassan, attempts to gain legitimacy in whatever government remains.

I really enjoyed this. It's an excellent final conclusion to this series, but with a fantastic plot of its own. The political machinations of this are always fascinating to follow, and the portrayal of a post-war society is consistently clever. I feel the politics of this world are always stronger when Donnelly focuses more on Gedda, as the international world here has never felt entirely clear; not even including a map of your international locations is never the right move.

On the character end, Lillian is more interesting than ever here, and I loved seeing her character develop more and more. Cyril and Ari's dynamic after such a long time challenges each of their character faults and is super compelling. I also particularly enjoyed Steven and Cyril's dynamic, and the development of Daoud.

series reviews: Amberlough | Armistice | Amnesty

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Profile Image for Megan.
345 reviews35 followers
February 22, 2019
Received an Advanced Reader Copy from Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

Reading this makes me wish I had my hair up, lipstick on, and double martini in hand while classy music plays in the background. I am sitting on a leather sofa in the library with rain pattering on the bay windows which look onto the lush green grounds. I have a trust fund to support me for the rest of my days thanks to old money, just like a DePaul, but without the family trauma and loss of income due to political strife! Ta-da, could life get any better?

I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll continue to say it until this series gets the attention it deserves! I can’t believe this isn’t more popular. People need to read these books! Political intrigue that’s well-rounded and reflects what’s happening today? LGBTQA representation?Spies? Drinks? Beautiful clothes? Realistic portrayal of PTSD? Atmosphere? Humour? It has it all!

Amnesty is just as politically intriguing, and rich in atmosphere and setting as Amberlough, with a completely different flavour from both that first book, and Armistice. Whereas Amberlough was glitzy with the feel of vintage burlesque theatres and a dark taste of the underworld, and Armistice was warm and fast paced with its focus on character interactions and an old Hollywood atmosphere, Amnesty is darker and colder. I am a fan of these different tones, as they match the feel of the rise and fall of an age. In the beginning: whispers and panic, the middle: money money money in some pockets with chaos on the rise, and finally the end: sit-down dinners, contracts and steel conclusions (with a few explosions thrown in the mix). This series is kind of the Adult version of if The Hunger Games, Six of Crows, and The Great Gatsby had a child, and that child became entangled in espionage.

The anticipation of finally seeing Cyril again and witnessing Aristide’s reaction had me drawing the first few pages out as long as I could while simultaneously being unable to help myself from skipping over lines in excitement. Of course I wish we got the old Cyril back, slicked hair, uptown attitude and all, but that just doesn’t suit the past 8 years of his life. The portrayal of Cyril’s trauma felt very realistic, especially considering how shaken he was just by the end of Amberlough. Now after 8 years under constant threat, he is completely undone, and not in a sexy “oooooh he’s so dark and deep now!”, but in an “oh shit, he needs leagues of therapists and possibly a brain wipe”, kind of way. This is a refreshing change from what feels like the more typical use of trauma in fictional romantic relationships, where such backgrounds are often used as a foundation for gratuitous angst, and brushed aside once the kissing starts. This is not the case here; Cyril’s return is more illustrative of a soldier who after years in a war zone now has to adapt to a civilian lifestyle. Aristide on the other hand, is only doing a little bit better. The way his reaction to Cyril is handled, where Cyril sees one version while we get the other, got me right in my drama loving heart and felt so true to how people faced with such unexpected events flail around. Obviously by the end I wanted more, but everything was wrapped up so neatly, in a fashion that matched with the pacing and plot, that it wasn’t necessary.

As for the rest of the characters, a few leading members are missing, but this didn’t feel off. Amnesty is a slim volume considering the amount of info it handles, and as such, it has a fast pace with little room for taking a break and basking in everyone’s glow. Lillian, Jinadh, Stephen, and Cordelia, to name a few, are handled with grace. We have just as much as we need, everyone is three-dimensional, so there are no questions asked...but, if Donelly were ever to suddenly pull a Tolkien and rewrite these books with bundles of new info concerning every character, event, setting etc I would buy, buy, buy. Take my money. Of course, it took Tolkien roughly 30 years to get Lord of the Rings to the point it is today (this is just what I’ve been told, please don’t come after me die-hard fans), so I hope it wouldn’t take that long, but maybe if we got updates every 5 years that would be cool? Maybe?

Also, I loved the interactions between sassy uncle Cyril, Jinadh, and Stephen. I mean, poor Jinadh, the man did NOT sign up for this, but here he is harbouring an ex-spy(not sure what to call Cyril, so I’m going with this for now), who thinks it’s okay to pilfer his collection of cardigans and dismiss him at dinner, and an angsty teenage son who becomes bff’s with said uncle. What is a handsome journalist who doesn’t get paid enough supposed to do in this situation?

As with the previous books, there’s a significant time skip at the beginning, with events controlling the plot having occurred in the past. Usually, this might feel off, but as with the characters, we’re given enough info that everything flows smoothly.

Basically, if you haven’t read The Amberlough Dossier yet, you gotta get on it (please).

Profile Image for Ashley Marie .
1,218 reviews376 followers
June 9, 2021
Oh my GOD that ending was perfection. Mary Robinette Kowal's narration remains flawless. And I still can't get over this world-building?? From the cars to the cigarettes (oh god too many cigarettes) to a singer on the radio to the slang, these books are filled with so many details that strike just the right tone of "Yes, this world exists." I can't wait to read more, Lara Elena Donnelly!

4 stars for [[Important Things Happening in the Time Jump]]
Profile Image for Ashley.
1,056 reviews13 followers
January 20, 2019
Aaaaaaggghhh I love it and need more how can it be done noooo aaagghhh whyyyyy.

You can see the full review on my dumb blog here.

If you haven’t read Amberlough and Armistice, you should. You really should. In fact, why don’t you do that. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Did you read them? Aren’t they fantastic? OK. So, on to the grand finale: Amnesty!

Just as Armistice begins with a three-year time jump after the events of Amberlough, Amnesty does the same, only this time, it’s five years after the events of Armistice, eight years after everything that went down during Amberlough. I’m not always a fan of time jumps - more often than not they make me angry, because I want to know absolutely everything that happens all the time always. Only, in the case of Amnesty, as with Armistice, I got over it pretty quick. Donnelly knows how to smooth over a time jump, filling us in with the events that happened in-between, and it does make sense that, for the most part, most major events of interest don’t always take place in perfect, chronological order. Anyway, we’re at five years after Armistice - Aristide and Daoud failed in their efforts to find Cyril in the Lisoan jungle, and they ended up setting up their own half-legit import/export business instead. Things are going pretty well - then Aristide gets a phone call from Prince Asiyah. They’ve found Cyril. Gasp!!

Meanwhile, in Amberlough, the Ospies have fallen. The revolution is over. If you were hoping for a whole book dedicated to guerilla warfare between Spotlight and the Ospies, well…sorry, you’ll be disappointed. Instead, we skip immediately to the interim government, trying to rebuild Amberlough from scratch. Lillian DePaul, with her husband Jinadh Addas and their son Stephen, now 13, have relocated back to the DePaul family home in Amberlough. The houses (a country estate and a town house) didn’t fare too well during Ospie rule, nor did the DePaul family’s assets. Plus, there’s also Cyril’s reputation is traitor to the nation to deal with. So Lillian, practically broke, has to contend with two crumbling houses that she can’t afford to staff properly, a husband who is not 100% happy with life in Amberlough, and a 13-year-old boy who acts like, well, a 13-year-old boy. Namely: moody, pissy and generally insufferable.

Then she gets a call out of nowhere from her old kind-of-sort-of-friend, Aristide Makricosta, with the news that her brother Cyril is still alive, and heading back to come stay with her. Yay?

Poor Cyril. Things were not great for him during the 8 years between the end of Amberlough and the start of Amnesty. He’d spent most of that time running dangerous ops for the Lisoan government in the jungle, with little regard for his own life. So when he finally emerges back to civilization he’s…well, different. There’s definitely a strong combination of PTSD and extreme guilt there. Plus a bit of survivalist kleptomania (hey, if you don’t know when you’re going to eat next, you’d squirrel away bits of food, too). Cyril is basically a man with a death wish, not giving a fuck about much of anything, preferring instead to retreat behind the mask of his work identities. Now he’s back - reunited with his old lover, Aristide, and his sister, Lillian. Plus, he gets to finally meet his nephew, Stephen.

But Cyril’s return to Amberlough isn’t exactly the best idea: once word gets out that he’s back, one of the politicians running for president of the new Amberlough decides to use Cyril as a political platform, namely that he should be arrested and put to death for treason. Cyril is like “sure, OK,” to that, but Lillian and Aristide? Yeah, they definitely don’t like that idea, and now they have to scramble to save not just Cyril, but themselves as well.

OK, so I fricking love this series. I tore through Amberlough and Armistice in just a couple of days, and I’m a slow reader, so that’s saying something. Amnesty is a completely satisfying end to the series, though I will still want more details about Cyril’s SuperHappyFun Jungle Adventures, or Aristide’s adventures in Porachis Bollywood or Coredlia’s rise as the leader of the resistance. Having those time gaps between books means we get to imagine all the adventures that happened in between. Which means: fanfiction! Woo! Or possible future short stories of novellas. (Cough cough hint hint Ms. Donnelly). If you’re not fond of big time gaps, then you might find this series frustrating, but still, Amnesty is an absolutely satisfying conclusion to the series.

Speaking of which, I'm still waiting on a complete map of the world of Amberlough. The maps in the first two books don't include Porachis or Liso. Where are they??? I need to know!

In all, you need to read this series. If you want a fantastic LGBTQ romance, a story that spans nearly a decade, old-timey Le Carre-level spycraft, political infighting, scheming, and a 1930s-esque world, then you need to read the entire Amberlough Dossier. Go on. You know you want to.
Profile Image for Abi Walton.
549 reviews31 followers
May 22, 2020
Re-read entire series 22.05.2020
Gosh this series still hurts me in the best way! Reading these books back to back definitely made me feel the ANGST and I cannot wait to read more from Donelly. I love how she creates this back and forth and Real tension between her characters. Where the things unsaid are the loudest quotes in the books.

Re-read 13.04.2019

Received an Advanced Reader Copy from Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

It is always heartbreaking when a favourite series comes to an end and the Amberlough Dossier has been one series that I have loved since I read the first page of Amberlough. I fell hard for Aristide and Cyril and I know these characters will stay with me long after I have finished the last page of Amnesty.

We open 8 years after the end of Amberlough and five years after Armistice. The war is over and won and Arisitde gets a call that Cyril is broken, battered and bruised but alive and waiting for him at a safe house. What follows is a story of guilt, heartbreak all brilliantly portrayed in Donnelly's perfect heart-wrenching hand. I actually enjoyed Lillian's input into this novel more that I did her voice in Armistice. I believe it was because Cyril was the turning point in this book, and the way he reflects his own image onto his nephew Stephan, Lilian's Son. Thus for me Lilian became a lot more sympathetic and a strong character who understood her flaws and worked to correct them.

Aristide's perspective as always broke me. His stubborn nature and his true devotion to Cyril made me speed read this novel to see the outcome. This book had me up till 2 am biting my fingernails and begging these characters to just be happy! As Always Donnelly does a terrific job of making us extremely annoyed and absolutely besotted by her characters.

The last few chapters tie all loose ends and this is the ending I was always hoping for. Having read these novels sporadically during release, I would love to sit down and re-read them one after the other. I really want to re-delve into this world as I feel I will always want more from the Amberlough Dossier.

It was a beautiful end to a truly wonderful series. I am unlikely to find a talent like Donnelly's for a while.
Profile Image for Stella ☆Paper Wings☆.
519 reviews46 followers
June 16, 2021
Well this was just sad queer chaos but I loved it.

This almost feels like a fanfiction of Amberlough, while Armistice feels like it told a whole separate story, and it's hard to connect the three novels in some ways. With both Amnesty and Armistice, I often felt confused by these callbacks to random characters from much earlier in the series, and it's been a while since I read Amberlough, so I couldn't remember a lot of the events there that were discussed in this book!

I do enjoy that while each book can't necessarily stand alone, they're all self-contained stories. Still, in a way I feel like this book has somewhat lower stakes than the other two, or at least in the first half before we realize what the stakes are, and that does slow the book down a little plot-wise.

Still, I love these characters and going through this healing journey with them that's (unusually) realistic given the trauma they've been through. The characters are definitely the core and the strong point of this series, and I just love these characters to death.

Although I think the plot of the other two books are stronger, I kind of liked this better than Armistice (also 4 stars) just because it's emotionally very well done. Amberlough (4.5 stars) is undoubtedly the best of the trilogy though. I definitely recommend rereading Amberlough before you venture into Amnesty, but I still think this is a solid and satisfying conclusion to the series.

CWs: PTSD, memories of torture, alcoholism
Profile Image for Phee.
555 reviews58 followers
April 19, 2019
Well. This trilogy is now over.
I must say that after finishing this book I am feeling rather underwhelmed. This book has some heart warming and and heart breaking moments. Revalations and reunions that were long sort after. But I also felt like the author played it safe. The stakes didn't seem as high and they should of, considering the circumstances.
The characters were fantastic as ever and the audio narrator makes this series what it is.
Couldn't help but smile at the last line.
Give this series a go. D-d-d-darlings ;)
Profile Image for Freya Marske.
Author 13 books1,587 followers
April 18, 2019
A satisfying end to a fantastic series. Can't wait for five years to pass so that I can drag together enough emotional resilience to survive reading all three back-to-back!
Profile Image for Maria.
577 reviews127 followers
May 25, 2019
Absolutely amazing. I wish I could erase my memory and experience this greatness all over again.
Profile Image for Mary Drover.
Author 1 book11 followers
January 31, 2020
This was such a perfect ending to this trilogy. It was exactly what I wanted, but not at all what I expected. It was so satisfying, all the loose ends were tied up while still giving hope for the future, and my little gay heart is so over the freaking moon with the happy ending. I could just scream with joy! As a whole, this trilogy was just truly astounding. I’ve never read anything like it (though the Angelus trilogy by Jon Steele has similar political/cultural vibes), and I doubt I ever will again. It was all the niche things I love in a book put together. I absolutely adored the hectic politics that don’t give you a second to breathe because that’s what it’s like in the real world. The characters were incredible; they were so flawed and so believable as human beings and so real? I wanted to shake and hug each of them at any given moment, and that made for a chaotic rollercoaster ride of emotions that I’m so grateful for. Like honestly, I feel like there’s a hole in my life now. I guess I’ll just have to dream about the obviously quietly happy coastal retirement that Aristide and Cyril get to live out together.
Profile Image for Cyril.
180 reviews
July 10, 2019
Actual review to come but if I summed this up in 10 words:
Broken people surviving. A dom rearranging the world for his sub.

My favorite thing about this whole trilogy (apart from everything: the craft of the writing, world building & characters) is how, in the end, it’s all about different kinds of love & how you fucking survive in impossible situations. I just. Am overwhelmed and blessed to have read this.
Profile Image for Ash | Wild Heart Reads.
243 reviews141 followers
June 19, 2019
Have you ever read a book and wondered what happened after the revolution? How the characters coped with the aftermath once the dust had settled? What was the cost? Amnesty is that book, with the revolution having come and gone in the five years between Armistice and Amnesty. Donnelly answers these questions with her signature elegant and emotive prose and magnificent characters.

“You know...I don't mind disappointing people. Perhaps that's a flaw in my character, but I think it has rather more to do with other people's failure to manage their own expectations. And everyone seems to have such varied expectations of me, how could I hope to fulfil them all?”

Admittedly as much as I am one to wonder what happens after a revolution, I was a little worried that perhaps Amnesty wouldn't be as gripping, after all the action is done and dusted. However, the Amberlough Dossier has first and foremost always been a character driven story and Donnelly truly excels at this. Amnesty is as gripping and heart-wrenching as the first two books. 

Amnesty is about consequences and the impacts of choices made, even when it was the only choice you had. Every main character has been motivated by different things, some for love, some for survival and some to hit back. In the Amberlough Dossier though there are few truly good people, instead there are people that are sometimes morally grey, sometimes self-serving and oftentimes make the best of a terrible situation. And in Amnesty justice is being demanded. 

If I am being honest with myself, there was a part of me that knew *that* death was coming given the ending of Armistice - but I didn't want to be honest and I can't believe Donnelly made us face the facts. I do think that it was a fitting end for the character given who they are but I still missed their voice in Amnesty. 

Seeing Aristide and Cyril meet again after almost 8 years was heartbreaking. Neither one had been unaffected by the intervening years, the war and the Ospies. Cyril in particular is suffering from PTSD from his time in enemy hands and he's scarred inside and out.

As much as there was a part of me sitting there wishing they'd just get back together and get an easy happily ever after, sans complications. And thinking: 'would you two just learn to communicate for Christ's sake'. But they can't be anyone but themselves and I am very glad that wasn't the case. It couldn't be easy after all they've been through and Cyril had a lot of guilt to work through and Donnelly handled his PTSD with care. The last scene with those two killed me. I really really hope this isn't the last we'll see of them, I'll take anything - a short story etc. 

On that note I'd love to see more of Cyril and Stephen. I'm not sure how it would work given the ending but one can dream. I really enjoyed their dynamic and how Cyril took Stephen under his wing in a way. Not that Lillian and Jinadh were too happy about it. 

“Small lies. Do you promise?”

Amnesty was a fantastic conclusion to the glamorous and devastating Amberlough Dossier. This is one of my favourite series, these characters stay with you long after you put the books down. For vintage spy glam, chaotic disaster gays and high stakes, pick up Amberlough and be prepared to be swept away. 

This review and more can be found at https://wildheartreads.wordpress.com/
Profile Image for Teleseparatist.
980 reviews117 followers
April 20, 2019
I read this book courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for a review.

I didn't think this would happen, but at its (presumed) end, the world of Amberlough has grown on me, at long last. The third volume was the first that I really emotionally connected with.

First things first: I didn't even read the cover copy before embarking on my reading here, and I think that served me well. This novel starts several (?) years after the previous volume ended, and the world it is set in is quite different; but the story it tells this time is only marginally interested in the politics (though it very much needs them to motivate the plot) or spying and action: instead, it is an intimate story of broken people and their desperate attempts at putting themselves together. I very much admire series that switch gears mid-way, and tell a different type of story, and I think it was a good choice for Donnelly - spying pyrotechnics and intrigue were the least convincing and successful part of her writing, to me, and interpersonal interactions and personal reflection is much more where it shines. This is a novel whose plot is just a pretense for intense insight into the characters' traumas and the world they no longer understand or fit; thus, it will surely appeal to some and miss other readers. Count me mostly appealed to.

My only misgivings concern whether the narrative does enough to persuade me that the characters deserve my investment in their success - I am not quite sure it succeeds there. I feel like there are thematic aspects of this story that never find resolution - the story goes in a direction and then stops short of what would seem a logical conclusion. Still, even that has certain value - while a part of me truly wants a different ending for characters, to satisfy my desire for justice and the "right" ending, I am even more interested in engaging with the values this ending presents, discussing it with other readers, hearing their thoughts.

It was my favourite part of the trilogy, and I never would have expected that from the description. I found its mood and grittiness mesmerising. I can't wait to see what other readers think.
Profile Image for Nina ( picturetalk321 ).
501 reviews30 followers
November 12, 2021
This book is just breathtakingly good.

I am not an automatic fan of trilogy although I have read and loved my share. The perfection of Amberlough (Book 1 -- I reviewed it here inevitably caused me some disappoint in Book 2, Armistice. So I approached Book 3, Amnesty, with some trepidation. And it did take a while to get into it. There are a bewildering number of characters, all woven together into an intricate net of intrigue and plot, with some characters reaching back right into the very start of the trilogy -- superb foreshadowing. In the end, I decided to abandon trying to understand it all and just ride along on the coat tails of the characters who could and did and manipulate it all unless they are themselves manipulated by it.

But what catapulted this into stellar territory once again was simply the grand and tragic love story at the heart of it. I think this is what caused my sadness and slight boredom with Book 2: the absence of

What does it for me is the taciturn, emotion-suppressing manliness of the men. And this includes Aristide who is not manly in any mainstream macho sense of the word, with his mink coats and drop earrings and affected airs. But oh, how I drank up the non-cinnamon-rollness of the two of them. How I loved their resistance to being redeemed in any facile sense, the fall of a 'straight' in their shaking hands, the 'rye' that gets them drunk, their scars and hacking coughing fits.

The person who comes closest to a cinnamon roll is, to me, also the most boring, and that is Jinadh Addas, Lillian DePaul's husband.

The great intelligence and cleverness of the plotting made me look back and view Books 1 and 2 subtly differently in retrospect. Book 1 is all about the phenomenal world-building of an alternative universe Weimar Republic on the brink of fascism. Book 2 is about being in exile, and how I missed the world of Book 1. But so did all the characters. Book 3 is about just that: how to overcome love of your home turf, how to live a hybrid life, what happens in the wake of fascism when a country is being rebuilt but it's not a rosy path. I appreciated this, suddenly, reading this, and thought of post-1945 people returning from exile to Berlin and not finding the streets and squares they were familiar with because they had been bombed into oblivion. And the Ospie regime in Amberlough was tame by comparison with fascist Germany.

I loved the relationship of uncle to nephew. I loved the way in which women were totally, unquestionably present at all levels, and in which they were described with the same hard-boiled adjectives as any film noir (male) detective or spy.

The prose is out of this world. Beautiful turns of phrase on every page. Startlingly unusual and 100% apt similes. Cringe-making dialogue that cuts like crystal.

The final quarter or so made me breathless with suspense in a way I have maybe not felt since the end of The Two Towers. Until almost the last page, I was on tenterhooks: would it all end in fitting and aesthetically satisfying tragedy?

Profile Image for Catherine.
503 reviews22 followers
April 2, 2020
Thank goodness.

Maybe it is a result of our current troubled times, but the ending of this book left me so relieved. Maybe in another scenario, I would have found it saccharine, but the deeply personal and gentle ending of this series, after all the tension and violence and sacrifice and selfishness (not to say the ending isn't selfish) of the previous books had not left me hopeful.

But, you guys.

The usual things I like about Donnelly's writing apply to the book too - I love her slang, her characters that are both selfish and sacrificing, and her story that manages to completely blur the boundaries between political and personal.

Ah. I am satisfied.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,468 reviews259 followers
November 14, 2021
Amnesty (The Amberlough Dossier #3) by Lara Elena Donnelly is an absolutely fantastic finale to what has been a fantastic alternate Weimar Republic Art Deco inspired trilogy. I've loved getting to know all of these characters and their world over the course of three novels. Donnelly really saved the best in this finale! I don't want to give anything away, but if you haven't started this series yet I can't recommend it enough especially in audiobook format.
Profile Image for solène.
762 reviews60 followers
March 20, 2022
"It is not easy,” Aristide went on, “to destroy your life. To coat the things you love in kerosene and light a match. To wire the halls of your heart with dynamite and flip the switch. The pain does not pale, even when viewed in the light of a greater purpose."

I just finished reading this in one sitting (one night, ha) and I don't know where to start this review.

I've tried not to read any to not get influenced, but Megan's encompasses most of the thoughts that crossed my mind while tearing through this masterpiece.
"You know...I don't mind disappointing people. Perhaps that's a flaw in my character, but I think it has rather more to do with other people's failure to manage their own expectations. And everyone seems to have such varied expectations of me, how could I hope to fulfil them all?"

I more often that not hate time-gaps as they're usually a way out of explaining things, but Lara Elena Donnelly deployed them flawlessly, both in Armistice and Amnesty.
Aristide Makricosta, king of the black market, monarch of the demimonde. Untouchable, untamable. Even the FOCIS’s Master of the Hounds couldn’t run him down, when it came to it, and instead turned belly-up beneath his teeth.

The character development was simply breathtaking for Aristide as well as for Cyril, and even though I still had a hard time liking both Lillian and Jinadh, I enjoyed their dynamics much more than in Armistice.

My only complaint about Amnesty would be that the stakes didn't seem as high as in Amberlough and even though it was a very character-driven book dealing with loss, trauma, betrayal and forgiveness, I'd have liked for there to be more politics and more dialogue.
Aristide briefly felt the chill of the steppe wind, felt the curve of Cordelia’s small shoulders underneath his hands. Horribly, his eyes began to burn.

As for the ending, it was utter perfection.

I swear, I spent the last 50 pages biting my nails and sweating because I was 100% convinced that Artistide's not-so-carefully crafted machination would fizzle and collapse ().
Aristide crossed the bridge in three strides, then turned and held a hand out: to steady Cyril. Or perhaps, to make sure that he followed.

I'm absolutely delighted this series ended so ~softly and I'm looking forward to reading Donnelly's next book(s).
Perhaps it wasn’t all gone, after all. “Will you do it now?” asked Cyril.
Aristide raised an eyebrow. They were thicker now, and had started to get ragged at the edges during the trek across Tatié. But the angle was familiar. Cyril, filled with sudden daring, kissed the apex of its arch.
“The stutter,” he said, his lips close to Ari’s skin.
“D-D-Darling.” Aristide pulled back and stared him in the eyes. “I’m sure I d-d-don’t know what you mean."
Profile Image for Alison.
752 reviews30 followers
July 26, 2019
An intense end to an intense series. I loved it. This was excellent and melancholy and often heart-wrenching, but so hopeful. It's a story of people scraping themselves back together after a war and seeing what's left and trying to move forward with what little they've got, both without and within. It's in the blurb, so it's not a spoiler: Cyril's back! The relationships in this book really pack a punch. Cyril and Aristide's reconnection is gutting and beautiful. My heart just aches for them. Everything is so broken around them and within them and they are so careful with each other. Their love story is so quietly triumphant. I love Cyril and Stephen. I wish we could have seen more of their budding friendship. Lillian really came together as a character for me here, though I didn't really connect with her in the previous book. She became real and human and I enjoyed her chapters much more this time around. This isn't always an easy book or series to read--it's a bit prickly and war is hell, but it's a tremendously worthwhile endeavor. It's so well done and so affecting.
Profile Image for Grace W.
826 reviews8 followers
July 27, 2020
(Copied from my review on TheStoryGraph) This whole series is just about perfect! I'm sad that one of my favorites didn't make it through the end but I still love every single thing they did with the story. It has such interesting characters and politics and it feels so real yet also so full of hope. I will literally read whatever else this author puts out I am THAT obsessed with this series! Please go and read it, it is so amazing!
Profile Image for mercedes.
104 reviews2 followers
October 4, 2019
lara elena donnelly can turn a phrase like nobody’s business but oh my god was this book ever depressing!! I never quite reconciled with the cordelia of it all :(
Profile Image for Katie.
600 reviews13 followers
December 8, 2018
Thank you to netgalley and Tor for the e-arc!

What a series! It's been quite some time that I've binged a series with such enthusiasm. The way this series is told has beats unlike other novels I've read, and it kept this series feeling fresh with each new book.


The characters, and their relationships, are what I loved the most about this novel. I missed
I was so glad Cyril was back! He was my favourite character in the first novel, and was my favourite again in this one, and his personal journey along with Aristide was so engrossing.

I enjoyed reading about Aristide and Daoud's relationship, the strain and power imbalance that made them an interesting duo. I liked how the novel ended them, making their journey as characters satisfying.

I loved the nephew-uncle relationship between Cyril and Stephen. All their scenes together managed to be fun,cute and kind of sad at the same time. Seeing Stephen connecting to an adult, and growing through someone else's faults felt real, the relationship genuine.

These characters are morally grey. Some of them have done outright despicable things, but that's why I loved them, that's why they were so interesting. I loved how dark it could be, yet you sympathized with them as well. We see them physically and mentally vulnerable. Through aging, or illness or experience. I loved how everyone in this book wasn't just young and gorgeous and flawless. That we had people of all ages who felt real, both beautiful and flawed in their own ways.


I'll admit this is were the audiobook served me well for the other books. While I adore these characters, I don't care much for political plots, and it's easier to glaze over those details in an audiobook over physically reading. There was a section in the middle were the book focused a lot around an election and politics, and those scenes didn't interest me at all. I cared much more for the character orientated scenes, and how the plot would later effect them.

The plot was engaging at the beginning with all the characters colliding again after years apart, and it picked up at the end once more consequences came into play.


This is a series I would highly recommend, and it's a shame it's not getting more attention. It feels so fresh, with distinct and fleshed out characters that have been written in a way I haven't seen before. This was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.
Profile Image for Sarah.
832 reviews231 followers
June 12, 2019
Amnesty is the final book in the queer, no-magic fantasy trilogy that started with Amberlough. I highly recommend that you read this series in order! The rest of my review will contain spoilers for the previous books.

Amnesty begins with a time-skip in which the Ospies have been overthrown and Cordelia has died. Oh, and perhaps most importantly, it opens with the news that Cyril has been found. Lillian doesn’t quite know how to deal with the reappearance of her politically inconvenient brother, and Cyril is depressed and suffering from PTSD. Aristide sees this as a chance to rekindle their relationship, but he’s also angry that Cyril never reached out to him in all these years.

Amnesty is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy, and I love the decision to skip to the aftermath of the Ospies defeat. Amnesty is a novel about recovery — both the recovery of society and personal stories of recovery. Are healing and forgiveness possible? Does Cyril deserve forgiveness for turning traitor in the first book? And what will the future look like going forward? These questions made for a compelling story. The character interactions are likewise compelling. Perhaps my favorite was the relationship between Cyril and his nephew Stephan, who he sees a lot of himself in. But the sibling relationship between Cyril and Lillian was also great.

If Donnelly ever decides to return to this world, I’ll happily read that book! But I’ll also read whatever else she decides to turn her hand to.

Review from The Illustrated Page.
Profile Image for Bart.
Author 4 books3 followers
September 26, 2020
So this is an interesting book from a storytelling perspective. Normally the final book in a series is filled with explosions and action and climaxes and drawn out fight/chase/thriller sequences, what have you. This one has...almost none of that. Yes, there are explosions, and erm, climaxes, but those aren't really the point of the story.

The second book, Armistice, ended on a note that pretty heavily hinted that there was going to be a LOT of action in book 3 -- civil war in Amberlough, gun-running in a neighboring country, a Heart of Darkness-esque search in a faraway jungle for someone once thought to be dead, etc...

Amnesty skips over all of that and gets to the point *beyond* those things. In so many stories, the book or movie ends when the action does, and the heroes go home, battered and exhausted and bloody but alive. This book supposes, well, what happens THEN? The heroes saw some shit, did some shit, and are probably super fucked up in the head because of that. And that's where Amnesty turns its focus. How do people put together the shattered pieces of their lives? The stories don't talk about THAT part...but Amnesty does, and that's why I loved it. The Amberlough series has never been about the action; it's always been about the characters. The people. And Amnesty does a tremendous job of focusing on them, and bringing together the threads of the series.
Profile Image for Josie.
111 reviews53 followers
March 3, 2021
From a more critical stand point, this honestly might be too high of rating, but I don’t care. This was just so much more enjoyable than the bore that was the majority of book 2 and I found the conclusion to be fairly satisfactory. This series isn’t perfect by any means. Pretty much all of my issues with it can be traced back to the sloppy world building, but the characters manage to make up for this slight and I think the concepts are executed fairly decently throughout. Plus, Lara Elena Donnelly’s ornate writing style really enhances the atmosphere of this story, which I can always appreciate. All in all, a solid read and a good time.

One more complaint though: Pray tell, what the point of having a map at the beginning of your book is, if the majority of the places getting name-dropped aren’t even on it?
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