THE LAST STITCH is the sequel to Prue Batten's first book, THE STUMPWORK ROBE, and brings the story to a whirlwind, and very satisfying, conclusion. The first book displayed Batten's gift for beautiful and evocative visual poetry, and this book improves on her high standard. Not only the story's frame, stumpwork embroidery and the tiny ensorcelled books hidden in it, but the book's many different locations and people get the same deeply imagined richness and loving details.
This half of the story is a journey, through a series of exotic locations gilded with a glamour that makes her people and places shine. Adelina, the imprisoned narrator of the first book, continues guiding her unknown reader around the robe she is forced to make for her mortal enemy, Severine. Severine, and her henchman, Luther, come into their own in this book, infusing the story with dread. Phelim, a man torn between the demands of humanity and the Others, finds his fate knotted into Adelina's in a heartbreaking way. All the characters from the first book seem to have grown realer and better imagined, and their fates join with the new ones to provide a relentlessly paced ending with a heart-stopping shock.
Batten's writing retains the dreamlike glow of the folktales she uses so inventively, and adds a chill and ruthlessness that make fairytales into nightmares.