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Sparrow Hill Road (Ghost Roads, #1)
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2014 Book Discussions > Sparrow Hill Road - The End (with Spoilers) (October 2014)

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Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
Now that November discussions have started, I don't know if anyone is still interested in talking about the wild card, but there is one more discussion topic I wanted to put up here. How did you feel about the way the book ended, the events in Book 4. SPOILERS ALLOWED

message 2: by Matthew (new)

Matthew | 154 comments For me, the ending is where everything that was being built up fell apart. A few of the problems:

1. Psychopomp Rose leads souls into the ghost roads, except for certain souls that just disappear. Gary is one of the souls that disappears after he dies -- going, we assume, to some unidentified afterlife. Some time later, Rose and a route witch crush a beloved car, and the car becomes Gary/ gets Gary's soul/ has its own soul that is kind of Gary-ish and can communicate Christine-like through the radio? What the heck is Gary/Car? We have no information from the "rules" that indicate a soul can come back after it disappears.

2. Assuming ghost Gary/Car is a thing, now Rose and Gary are going to rescue Emma from Bobby Cross. At the meeting Bobby says he can take her sould if she voluntarily puts on a necklace. But then Bethany shows up and says there are "Rules for engagements of this kind." She says, "You're trying to break the rules, Bobby. You've interfered with people who never touched the crossroads, nor made any bargains there. That can't be allowed." Bobby has a claim over Rose's soul, but "the bean sidhe wasn't yours to touch. You never killed her, and she never made a deal. You can make a wager. You can issue a challenge. But you can't make an exchange." Rose explains, "She's saying you can make me fight you for Emma, but you can't just trade one for one."

This is the part that completely loses me. Bobby Cross has no rights to Emma. This part is clear. He can't trade for Emma because of that. So why can he make Rose fight for Emma, or make a wager for Emma? If he has no rights to Emma, he's got no rights. You can't make your stake in a wager something you don't own. By Bethany's own explanation of his rights, he should just have to let Emma go.

3. So, Rose and Gary are re-united, and then they have to race for "pink slips." Rose's soul AND Gary in exchange for Emma. Is that a "fair" bargain? And even if it is is, why would Rose risk Gary's soul (let along both of theirs) for Emma? Sure, Emma is a friend, but if a friend of mine is trouble, I may risk my own life, but I'm sure not going to risk my own and someone else's! WIth the stakes so high, Rose should have just said No Deal, and left Bobby Cross with an Emma he had no rights to and couldn't trade.

4. There have been lots of cars on the ghost roads, but there is never an explanation of the rules -- what a ghost car can and can't do. So, the ending was earned. Gary and Rose survive because . . . of some rule about cars in the ghost roads that the author never told us!

5. And then, it ends, serial style, with Rose winning the small battle, but Bobby Cross living on to continue to war. No real resolution. Boo.

Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
Matthew, the same things bothered me. Up until Gary/Car, the cars on the ghost roads have been well-loved cars that went with the spirit of the owner who died in them. Apparently Gary and some routewitch have cooked up a way let Gary's soul live on in a car. Okay, true love never dies. But now we have Rose, a hitcher, with her own car to drive around. She knows she will still get called away. I guess Gary/car will sit in the parking lot at Last Dance diner. So how did Bobby grab Emma? Is he more powerful than a bean sidhe? Apparently. Why does Rose have to race him, when he has no right to Emma? Because a cross-roads ghost says so, and she is some sort of powerful arbiter. I mentioned in another thread that I was bothered by the whole idea of the cross-roads ghosts, given how they attained that status, being charged with keeping the cross-roads deals "fair." But the race at Sparrow Hill Road is not a cross-roads deal, so how does Bethany wind up in charge?

I really liked the first part of this book, but I did find the ending to be a serious let-down. Is it a set-up for sequels? I assume so, but I still think this ending was a mistake.

message 4: by Whitney (new) - added it

Whitney | 2088 comments Mod
For point one, I got the idea that Gary and the Routewitch had cooked up some hocus pocus whereby Gary's soul was in a holding pattern until the car could be destroyed for him to inhabit. I'm not bothered by the concept itself, but this would be another of those things that comes out of nowhere rather than being set up by what comes before. Not a lot different from the sudden dive into the concrete on Route 14. There's some tennis being played without a net here, which is rather disappointing.

I also agree that Rose's off-hand comment that she would, of course, leave Gary at some point was a tad off-putting. "Thanks for dedicating your entire afterlife to being with me. See ya." As for the idea of Gary becoming a car, I can sort of see how it fits, and I get the reverse Christine thing, but I still found it, well, cheesy.

For point 2, yeah, fair point, the rules do seem a bit arbitrary. And, yes, why does a crossroads ghost suddenly get to arbitrate?

For point 3, I got the idea it was a wager of Emma against Gary, and that Bobby wasn't going to get Rose either way.

For point 5, I was initially wondering at the lack of resolution, but then considered that it was appropriate to leave it with the battle of Bobby and Rose going on, as that continues the mythology.

As I've said before, I think some of the failings of the book are result of it being a series of short stories. I think it would have been improved if McGuire had reworked them into a true novel instead of leaving them as essentially connected anecdotes.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Whitney wrote: "...I think it would have been improved if McGuire had reworked them into a true novel instead of leaving them as essentially connected anecdotes. "

I totally agree with you on this. It felt repetitive at times, while some other times I felt like something was missing. This could have been solved had the book been edited in a more cohesive story.

All in all I enjoyed the stories and ... I don't remember who mentioned a sequel, but if there were one I would probably read it.

Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
I haven't heard anything about plans for a sequel, but it does seem as though most of this author's stories turn into series. So far there is a series that starts with Rosemary and Rue, about a character named October Daye; a series that starts with Discount Armageddon, set in the "InCryptid" universe;a short story series called "Velveteen Vs.," including Velveteen vs. The Multiverse, published as collections of short stories; and, writing as Mira Grant, the "newsflesh" series that starts with Feed; a "Parisitology" series starting with Parasite; a serial called Indexing, now collected as a book, and a variety of shorter works.

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