Read my reviews of the previous Thornchapel books:

  1. A Lesson in Thorns
  2. Feast of Sparks
  3. Harvest of Sighs

I waited six months for the finale of this fantastic series, and every moment was worth it. Simone continues to raise the stakes in both reality and the bits of fantasy elements that seep into this world, and finally visiting Auden’s first-person point of view is the icing on the cake. He is precisely the hero I wanted him to be in the end.

Things are pretty dark for the Thornchapel Six at the end of the previous book, and I’d like to say that everyone lives happily ever after, but that’s not how Simone rolls. (Which is one of the reasons I adore her writing.) Tensions between all of the characters continue to rise, even as they all come together. They are stronger as a whole when it comes to solving the mystery of the chapel door, even when being together is far from easy or simple. Though these characters are not direct allegories for a classic story, as in Simone’s particular previous works, it’s still fascinating to read a tale that feels like it has echoed across time, and this is only the latest incarnation. Thornchapel is a modern-day fairy tale (more in the Grimm style than Disney).

It’s hard to pick out things to say about the individual characters when I still wish I could befriend all of them in real life. I still want to hang out with Poe, talk books with Saint, verbally spar with (and lose to) Rebecca, drink bubbly with Delphine, discuss philosophy with Beckett, and fall utterly in love with Auden.

I wish I could say that this book answers all the questions, but the story is entirely satisfying even without that assurance. Simone does bring closure to every story thread and character arc, regardless. I highly recommend this series to authors looking at how to balance multiple points of view and relationships across an intense, tightly woven storyline.

Even though I re-read the first three books in this series before I launched into this one, I envy readers who will come into this series with the entire story available to read as a streamlined whole. It’s not always an easy read, but it is entirely worth it. I look forward to returning to Thornchapel in the future because I know this will be far from the only time I read this amazing series.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.