Lovers reunite, and are torn apart. Bloodthirsty fiends battle for control of an army of the undead. With the community of Talbot frozen under layers of ice and snow, the domination of the vampire coven seems certain, but in the eye of the storm, the witches and the vampire hunters search desperately for the means to bring an end to the violence that threatens to take over more than one small, sleepy town. Will Rayvin and Charlotte be able to work together, combining their skills in magick, to prevent the loss of more innocent lives?
My Rating: 4/5 stars
The third and final installment of The Talbot Trilogy opens in the aftermath of the huge magical event caused by Charlotte and Rayvin. Though their magic was able to temporarily stop the wave of violence brought on by Jason, de Sade, and the newly created army of the undead the fight is far from over and Talbot is on the brink of total destruction.
Army of the undead sucks (see what I did there?) but it is really Jason that Charlotte and Rayvin have the most to fear from. Jason is pure evil and even de Sade couldn’t predict how vampirism would affect him. Jason has little to no impulse control, a deep-seated hatred of Rayvin, and a strong desire to take over more than just Talbot. Thankfully, the girls aren’t quite alone in their fight against evil. Joining Charlotte and Rayvin are Marcy, the wood nymph, her partner and lover, Siobhan, the gargoyle, Grant, the beautiful (in both forms!) arctic wolf, and Pike, Charlotte’s husband. Six against an army isn’t the greatest of odds and things are about to get worse.
Charlotte has rarely ever used her magic and is just now, in the time of crisis, learning to harness her power. Rayvin is hurt and bleeding a lot (I won’t reveal why!!) which is weakening her ability to perform magic. Pike is mid-change and trying to avoid drinking blood until his sire can be cured and he can be rid of the vampiric virus. Marcy and Siobhan are exhausted from the strain of using their gifts so much, and Grant is constantly shifting between his forms which is causing exhaustion as well. Their exhaustion and the rapidly disintegrating weather conditions are not conducive to fighting but if the group has proved anything over the course of the series, they are resilient.
Jason’s evil and de Sade’s constantly fluctuating allegiance are also in play and the group struggles to stay alive and fight on divided fronts. True to form, Ridgewood doesn’t offer any quarter or safe haven to her characters but pounds them with obstacle after obstacle and casualties are sustained. Also true to form, Ridgewood balances the awful with some goodness and provides the group with help from some most unlikely sources. The good and the help are few and far between but when the chips are down, Talbot belongs to the humans and the group intends to keep it that way or go down swinging. From start to finish, there is very, very, very little downtime for the characters (and the reader) to regroup and catch their breath. The variety of awful Ridgewood has concocted is as creative as it is wretched. There are stabbings, falls from cliffs, being chained to a cliff, burnings, cracked skulls, loads of deaths, and explosions. Seriously, this thing is balls to the wall full of action with some crazy twists and turns and surprises along the way.
The Bottom Line: In all, I liked this final installment of The Talbot Trilogy but there are a few things that sort of rubbed me the wrong way. Charlotte! Until the very end (again, I won’t tell you why!), Charlotte is a seriously annoying character and it got old having to have everyone constantly prop her up and convince her of her ability. The group needed her to pull her weight not whine. Next, the constant reminder of Rayvin’s bleeding and condition. I have no issue with how she got into the situation, it is the constant reminders of her bleeding that rankled. Finally, the sense of time is very much lost in this read. There are few moments when one of the characters mentions how little time has passed and it feels wrong (disorienting?) given how much action has occurred. One of the highlights of the read is the epilogue. Have I mentioned how much I love it when an author adds an epilogue and uses it well? Crystal and Wand’s epilogue isn’t just a great what happens after all the awful, it is also quite the little teaser. While I firmly believe The Talbot Trilogy has come to an end, I don’t get the sense Ridgewood is done with this particular cast of characters. There is still a lot that can be done with the Talbot group and it will be interesting to see where Ridgewood takes them in the future.
About the author and where to find her:
After her first heartbreak, Tori found solace in two things: reading romance novels and listening to an after-dark radio program called Lovers and Other Strangers. Throughout the summer and fall of 1990, the new kid in town found reading fiction and writing her own short stories gave her a much needed creative outlet. Determined to become a published author, Tori amassed stacks of notebooks and boxes of filed-away stories, most only half-finished before another idea would overtake her and demand to be written down. Then, while on parental leave with her second baby, one story formed and refused to be packed away. Between teaching full-time, parenting, and life in general, it would take almost seven years before the first novel in her first trilogy would be completed. In the process, Tori finally found her stride as a writer.
At present, on her off-time, Tori not only enjoys reading, but also listening to an eclectic mix of music as she walks the family dog (Skittles), attempts to turn her thumb green, or makes needlework gifts for her friends and family members. She loves to travel, collect and make miniature furniture, and a good cup of tea during a thunderstorm or a blizzard. Under it all, she is always intrigued by history, the supernatural, vampire and shapeshifter mythology, romance, and other dangers.