I’ve read a lot of praise of this book series. And individually, I think they all work. But Finale operates in a different world than the first book and I think there was too much to wind up and too much being introduced as new to really pull this book off.
Caraval introduces Scarlett and Donatella Dragna, sisters who escape their abusive father to go to a magical game called Caraval. The first book deals with the mysteries surrounding and within Caraval and centers on Scarlett. The second book, Legendary, focuses on the fallout of the last Caraval and the setup of the next game- Donatella is the protagonist here. The second book expands the magical world of the book to include supernatural creatures called Fates. Finale tries to balance the resolution of Scarlett’s and Donatella’s love stories with the resolution of the intertwining magical forces of Legend (the man responsible for Caraval) and the Fates.
The biggest issue I see with the book is that many of the Fates are just introduced in the third book for the first time. The author is trying to force her characters where she wants them to go, and the Fates end up as conveniences in the plot rather than the terrifying supernatural forces they are supposed to be. Need to get somewhere fast? A random peasant child will give you a supernatural key! Need a ton of exposition? Here’s a lady trapped in a cage that happens to be in your swanky prison bedroom!
The romance bits also are a bit tortured. Both sisters are in love triangles. One of them clearly has no interest in the second man involved, so that’s just page filler. But Donatella continues her love triangle from the previous book. She can’ t choose between an immortal man named Legend or a supernatural (also immortal) man named Jacks. One is often shirtless and described repeatedly as looking like “a fallen angel” (I mean repeatedly. That phrase has to be found at least ten times in this book, and same in Legendary). The other suitor is always described as wearing wrinkled, badly buttoned clothes and drops both his food and eating utensils on the ground when he is done with them. He also repeatedly purposely makes her bleed when kissing her. Why is there a choice to be made here?
This book is both overly long and not quite detailed enough. Sections could definitely have been eliminated, and the Fates could have been more fleshed out than they were.