I don’t know what it is that this author does so well that just enraptures me into his characters, but I just can not get enough of his work. I almost never finish a series anymore, but this is one that I absolutely had to finish and boy what a fucking finish it was.
I love the way character arcs don’t necessarily “arc” in the traditional ways. People don’t progress in a straight line in real life and that’s pretty much always reflected in his characters. With most authors and characters you start somewhere and you finish somewhere else. But, with Joe there are characters that go in a complete circle and start right back where they ended and it’s incredibly frustrating, but also very realistic. There are characters who grew and changed and become better people than they were at the start of the series. There are characters that had a straight path downward into darkness and wrapped themselves in layers of brutality. There are others you root for and then find yourself rooting against. That all sounds very vague but to call out the characters by name in regards to how their story arcs went could be pretty spoilery.
It is so utterly rare when I am listening to an audiobook and I just stop what I’m doing and listen with 100% of my attention because I am so invested in the outcome of a battle or a dual or other life/death situation. With Joe you truly never know which character is going to die and which ones will survive to the end. That said, in the moment I did predict a few deaths and a few twists before the big reveal. However, leading up to the scene I was usually clueless.
This is a brutal way to end the series, and for those familiar with the first series First Law, you’ll know what to expect as far as an ending. I would say this is far less loose, however. Things have conclusions and the fates of the characters are revealed, there’s no “what happened to that guy”. However, the tone of the ending is fairly similar with First Law. There are no fan-service plot points. No one has plot armor and many kick the bucket in the final installment of this series. The ending to this series fucked with me for days.
The ending also left open for yet another series or perhaps some stand alones like the First Law series got. Whatever he has planned I am absolutely down for it. Rikka has another premonition towards the end, once her original premonitions had all come to pass, and I am so stoked to figure out what it all means. Count me in 150% for the next series.