Ah, the conclusion to the Living in Eden series. I didn't realize this was going to be a trilogy, so that was a bit of a surprise, but it was a welcome one. I love that the author didn't draw it out too long. I'm sorry to say goodbye to Eden and Darrak, but I'd much rather end on a high note, still wanting more, than have the series drag on forever.
This has been a really fun series. If you haven't read the two previous books, I don't recommend you start here. It doesn't stand on its own very well. For the past two books we have seen Darrak and Eden struggle to come to terms with their feelings and the fact that they are stuck together. They haven't had the smoothest path, but they're both still hopeful that they can find a way to get Darrak out of Eden's body, without hurting him. Also, they're highly motivated to find a solution, given that they can't have sex without repercussions until they fix his curse. Sounds simple, right? Right...
The Darrak we see in this book is a bit of a change from the guy we've known in the past two books. I've always enjoyed his voice, so I noticed right off that he was a bit more subdued than he was before. He still had some nice lines, but the jokes and sarcasm weren't as frequent as before. Instead, we saw a more vulnerable side of him. He's finally come to realize what Eden means to him and struggles to reconcile that with their situation and the person he used to be. He also has to come to terms with the fact that he and Eden might not being seeing eye to eye on their feelings and their hopes for the future.
Eden is not quite as likable as she was in the past, but it's (mostly) understandable, given what all has happened to her. She's trying to roll with the punches, but it seems like the hits just keep coming and it's wearing on her. She's stressed and having a hard time controlling her magic and just wants her body back to herself. She cares about Darrak too much to take the easy way out, but she could use a break right about now. She just doesn't have the energy to deal with feelings and what-ifs when they don't even know how to get out of their current situation. Eden's desperate for a solution, but when things are taken out of her hands and solved for her, she starts to reevaluate how she actually feels.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book, and this trilogy in general, is that not all the characters are nice people. They're not the "bad" guys of the story, per se, they're just crappy people who sometimes make crappy choices. I liked that the author didn't feel the need to excuse their actions and make everyone friends in the end. I know that some people like everyone singing "Kumbaya" at the end, but I'm not one of them. Take Ben, for example. I loathe him with a fiery passion. If I had watch him be excused for his douche behavior then I might have had to punch my book. And I don't want to do that. Because that would be the final straw in convincing my husband that I've gone `round the bend. That loathing goes double for a person close to Eden who popped back up, by the way. They did some things in this book that cut even the slight amount of sympathy I had for them.
I found this book really readable and enjoyed seeing it all wrapped up, but it wasn't perfect. As I mentioned before, Eden was less likable and Darrak was more subdued. We also ended up seeing much less of him than usual, due to things that I won't discuss, so the usual dynamic was a bit off and not as gripping. I felt that things were a little too easy for Eden in regards to her magic. She never got any control of herself--no matter how much Darrak nagged--she just had the equivalent of an "Easy" button to clear up her problem. Way too convenient.
I found the developments with Lucifer very interesting. I like that the author didn't make things as black and white as they originally seemed. I was surprised to hear the particulars of Lucifer's connection to hell, but it made sense once I thought about it. I enjoyed how it all resolved and liked getting a little glimpse of the future for Darrak and Eden in the epilogue. I'm sorry to say goodbye to this series, but it was a fun ride while it lasted.
"Stanley?" Darrak said after a moment. "Do you know who this is?" A pause. "No, it's okay. Don't be scared. I'm not going to do that to you." Another pause. "Seriously, I'm not. Evisceration is extremely messy and the cleanup is a--Come on. Stop crying. Be a man."
*Review originally posted on Fiction Vixen*