Read my reviews of previous books in the Ghostly Guardians series:
Since this book is the conclusion to the overarching storyline of the series, Masters has set pretty high expectations for readers regarding both the urban fantasy and romance elements. I know without a doubt that fans of the series will have no reason not to devour this book, though I urge new readers to go back to the beginning for the full experience. This was a well-written and highly enjoyable story that I had fun reading, and I think that my knowledge of the subgenre—along with my love of this world and these characters—is the only reason I found anything at all to criticize.
Since we already know both heroes as secondary characters from earlier installments, and the previous book also left us with a slight cliffhanger, I appreciated that Masters doesn’t waste any time before launching us straight into the external plot. I loved the subtle and ever-present danger that comes with an unexpected ally, who immediately raises the already impressive stakes by connecting the issue even more personally to a few of the characters we’ve come to love, including Gabe, one of the specific heroes to this book.
Masters deftly balances the intensity of the threat with reasonable “down time” that also allows the romance element of this book to develop. Friends who matchmake with the best of intentions (especially since Gabe and Tom had already expressed interest in each other) are always entertaining. That they matchmake our heroes right into a particular romance trope was even more amusing, and that the heroes promptly embark on a friends-to-lovers speedrun afterward made it perfect. Gabe and Tom are up-front with each other (for the most part) about the danger the external plot brings to their lives and how they’d rather enjoy being together than worry about “what have been.” So, while there is an element of trauma bonding to their relationship, the way Masters crafted the characters and their connection makes it feel much more natural and believable.
The only problem with bringing such realism into this type of book is that it can end up tempering the spectacle that has already been promised. In any other story, I’d have found Tom’s family drama fascinating, but it simply wasn’t very interesting in the face of the life-or-dead conflict set up between Gabe’s family. Additionally, I loved the esoteric worldbuilding Masters does regarding how our world intersects with the source of a potential invasion, but focusing on this element of the final confrontation made me feel cheated of the rest of the epic finale. Gabe’s role in it was unarguably important, but keeping the focus on him felt a bit like a narrative shortcut, leaving me a bit bummed that I didn’t get to see Tom and the previous series heroes truly shine.
The overall conflict of this series might be resolved, but Masters leaves plenty of room for additional story that I’m already intrigued by. My minor complaints about this book will certainly not stop me from reading whatever might come next.