The Grace children have clashed with goblins, elves and dwarves, but this is when they finally clash with the cruel ogre Mulgarath. "The Wrath of Mulgarath" tidily wraps up this little series with the right combination of action, magic and bittersweetness -- and, of course, battling the evil ogre.
Simon, Jared and Mallory return home... only to find that their home has been trashed and their mother kidnapped. Even worse, Mulgarath now has dragons working for him. Desperate to figure out how to defeat the ogre, they rush to the elves and ask to speak to Arthur Spiderwick, but they must pay a price for the privilege.
So the three children (plus Hogsqueal and Thimbletack) set out toward Mulgarath's stronghold, the Palace of Trash. But even if they are able to defeat the goblins, the fire salamanders and the dragon and somehow fight their way in, they have little idea of the trap that has been set for them...
"The Wrath of Mulgarath" is a pretty solid ending to this little fantasy series -- no big dramatic changes, just the Grace kids struggling to return things to the status quo. All the story arcs are neatly wrapped up, in a way that satisfies but also leaves you wishing there were a little bit more.
Holly Black's vivid writing is as lovely as ever, even when she's describing unsavory stuff like a cow suckling fire salamanders, or the palace (the roof is "black with tar and covered in overlapping layers of glass and tin that looked like fish scales"). Perhaps the only scene that's a problem is the rather anticlimactic way Mulgarath is dealt with, but the scene that follows -- a bittersweet moment involving Arthur Spiderwick -- makes up for it.
The book also neatly wraps up the character arcs that have been going on through the series -- the kids no longer bicker and criticize each other, and are much quicker to try to save each other. Additionally, Jared seems to finally work through the last of his post-divorce issues, which is a nice touch.
"The Wrath of Mulgarath" is a solid, dark-edged finale for the Spiderwick Chronicles, wrapping up all the plot threads while leaving the door open for more stories.