Warning - contains SPOILERS
This book is all angles and planes - that's an in-joke, as anyone who has read this series will know that it is Michael Scott's favourite and most over-used phrase to describe faces.
Firstly, let me just say that I have been a fan of this series since the beginning. It has been an original and entertaining journey and I have recommended it to many people along the way. I was eagerly awaiting the final instalment to find out how it would all end, but I'm afraid this book fell far short of my expectations. If it hadn't been for the fact that Michael Scott's tell-tale phrase (see above) was included, I might think this had been written by someone else entirely, with only the vaguest notion of the story so far. All the people who have written five star reviews must be such die-hard fans that they are able to completely overlook this book's many flaws, and there are many.
Mr Scott must have been under such a tight deadline to finish that the publishers decided to skip the editing process. There are probably a dozen or more typographical errors - missing words, extra words, incorrect tenses - that any good proof-reader should have picked up. There is also a HUGE error in the story where a character refers to something that just did not happen. They mentioned being somewhere in an event that took place in The Warlock, but that character just wasn't there. Again, an editor would/should have picked that up. An editor might also have been brave enough to tell Mr Scott that the endless chapters set on Alcatraz and elsewhere in San Francisco were pointless, repetitive, and did not advance the plot. Half of that could easily have been cut, resulting in a much shorter book. Ordinarily I like long books and I was pleased to see how satisfyingly chunky this one was when it arrived, but I'm afraid the endless litany of monsters we had to deal with on Alcatraz was tedious and did nothing but show off how many monsters Michael Scott knows about.
In previous books we have been introduced to a long list of characters, elders and immortals, who are all extremely powerful and well-practiced in the magical arts. Here, however, they seem weak and ineffective and they are dropping like flies! In the previous book, Virginia Dare manages to awaken all of the monsters on Alcatraz with one blow on her magical flute. Yet here, the combined might of five immortals and three elders are brought to their knees by the same monsters and the elders all give their lives in the process. I know it's been a tough week and they were tired, and the Flamels were obviously too weak to be much help, but seriously, with all their powers and magic, couldn't someone have found a way to put them back to sleep?
Plot holes are everywhere, and the ultimate 'twist' at the end makes no sense at all in the light of the rest of the series. Storylines which seemed to be set up in the previous books went nowhere or were an enormous anti-climax, including:
The 'utlaga' Dee facing the wrath of his masters
The twins reunited after being on opposite sides
The mysterious bond between Mars Ultor and Josh and the 'debt' that would need to be repaid
The whole thing feels rushed, especially when it came to the 'climax.' The defeat of one crab took a bunch of immortals and elders several chapters to accomplish, but the defeat of the ultimate bad guys takes just a paragraph or two. I just didn't buy it. I can't believe that this was a case where the author had the end in mind from the beginning. It seems more like a case where an author started off with a wonderful premise, populated with interesting, multi-dimensional characters, and started to weave an intricate story. Then he realised he had no clue how it ended!
If you've read the rest of the series you'll want to read this anyway, but be prepared to be disappointed.