Sovereign by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee
Nine years after Rom Sebastian was thrust into the most unlikely of circumstances as hero and bearer of an unimaginable secret, the alliance of his followers is in disarray. An epic battle with The Order has left them scattered and deeply divided both in strategy and resolve in their struggle to become truly alive and free.
Only 36 truly alive followers remain loyal to Rom. This meagre band must fight for survival as The Order is focused on their total annihilation. Misunderstood and despised, their journey will be one of desperation against a new, more intensely evil Order.
As the hand of this evil is raised to strike and destroy them they must rely on their faith in the abiding power of love to overcome all and lead them to sovereignty.
I reviewed the second book in this trilogy last year, stating multiple times how frustrating it was that Dekker was retreading so much ground from The Circle series, etc. I had hoped that the authors, particularly Dekker, would redeem themselves in the final book.
They did... somewhat. The Circle retreading is still there and still frustrating, but thankfully Sovereign diverges a bit more from that script than Mortal did. The parallels, though, do take away from the story big time.
Also frustrating is the whole TH blood thing. It's something evokes either a knowing smile, or an peeved eye roll and subsequent groan from readers of The Circle. It's one of those things that just makes you think "Seriously?" and makes the whole premise seem that much more ridiculous.
I also didn't particularly like the ending - it was too much a "feel good" one, which seems pretty ridiculous given the circumstances at the start of the novel (geez, Dekker, your readers aren't 10 year olds who can't handle a bittersweet, bloody, or melodramatic finish) and there were far too many deus ex machina-like elements as well.
That said, the feel good ending was probably supposed to make up for the brutality of the authors in hurting and killing key characters throughout the rest of the book, but it also makes for another reason why the ending didn't quite work.
Beyond all that though, Sovereign made for good reading. The writing itself was of high quality and had heavy emotional punch to it while for the most part staying grounded in things that made relative sense - all of which is very much likely due to Tosca Lee's influence (get Dekker on his own and you have no idea where a story might go - which isn't always a bad thing, but isn't always good either). To Dekker's (the suspense author of the two) credit, the final 2/3 of the book are so intense and suspenseful (partly due to the authors' ruthlessness in doing away with characters) you literally cannot think of much else until you finish it. The pacing could have been a bit brisker, but it never really dragged, and the slightly slower pace increased that chomping-at-the-bit feeling one gets when one reads an uber-intense novel (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).
The characters were also all very well developed (another thing I credit to Lee), which helped with the whole emotional-engagement thing.
I hope the authors leave this series as it is and don't add anything to it (knowing Dekker though, it won't and it'll get weird and turn into another Books of History Chronicles), but if the epilogue is any indication, that's not going to happen. All in all, a powerfully written finale to the trilogy. Recommended to all fans of dystopian novels who haven't read the Circle (since this trilogy is essentially the Circle for dystopian lovers).
Posted by bendavis