The Black Key by Amy Ewing 

I hope you all read my last post that included the reviews of Ewing’s first two novels in this series, because I’m going to try not to repeat myself too much. Of course there will be some repetition because a few of the problems I found before were not fixed in this novel, but I will limit the rant. If you would like my unedited feelings, please read the previous post first! 
So when you read as much as I do, you sometimes forget a couple of details when the next book in a series comes out a year later. Normally I’m pretty good at remembering at least 75% of a book a year later, where the missing 25% is just filler information that doesn’t really affect the overall storyline.

That wasn’t the case for this series…

Try reversing those numbers; I only remembered about 25% of the story, if that! This statistic didn’t bode well for me when I was picking up my copy of The Black Key. I ACTUALLY had to reread my previous post to remind myself of what happened in The Jewel and The White Rose. And it hadn’t even been a year! I believe I read these back in June… so it was maybe 6 months.

Here’s what I forgot (which may surprise you after seeing how passionate my rants and points were):

  • Character names- literally ALL OF THEM
  • My disdain for Violet – Right?! I despised her character for being clingy, annoying and prejudice; it was actually one of my biggest peeves. Needless to say, I was not thrilled to remind myself of this.
  • The superpowers- rolled my eyes so hard I almost lost my pupils.
  • Violet’s sister was kidnapped- oh right, set up for final book…
  • Violet has a brother- ????
  • Ash is her love interest- RIGHT! Hated him in first book, liked in second, but still just meh. 
  • Garnet! -yes, we like him! But Ewing doesn’t use him enough, even though he had the potential to be the best character.
  • Guys are sold as companions- Yes! More focus on this please!
  • What the white rose is- a safe house… I guess.
  • what the black key was- HAHAHAHA totally forgot that this is what their rebel society was called. When I bought the third book, I was soooooo confused by the title. I actually laughed out loud when I realized the title had a purpose.

And some other things… but these seemed fairly significant. I should have remembered all this, right? Ha! Opps.

All I really remembered was that it was a dystopian society where girls were used to bake royal babies.

So now that I’ve finished the series, here’s the review for the final book.

Alright, so let’s get some things over with quickly.

  • Still hate Violet. Hate hate hate. She did own up to the fact that she was being prejudice against Carnelian (which always bothered me since she constantly preeched for equality), but that wasn’t enough to save her character for me. Still whiney. Still clingy. Still blah.
  • Damn the weird Wiccan powers! Still wish Ewing focused on the dystopian aspects of the society and eliminated magic all together.
  • STILL NOT ENOUGH GARNET!  I can’t even get into this one…

This review seems to be going terribly so far, but I swear there were a few good things! Not a lot, but a few…

This is going to sound bad, but one of the things I really liked was the fact that Ash was barely in the story. His back story is great and all, but it was unlikely that Ewing was going to take it any further after the second book. If he were in the third book more, I’m sure his time would be spent following Violet around like a sad puppy as he constantly whined about his uselessness and undying love. There’s only so much of that I can take. So it was good that he was ‘off-stage’, as it were, for the bulk of the novel. Basically, I didn’t get the chance to get annoyed with him. I still wish the story took a different turn so the focus would be on the slavery of lower classes for pregnancies and companions (NO DAMN MAGIC), but it is what it is.

I enjoyed Lucien, especially (Spoiler spoiler spoiler!) his untimely death. I hate it when you go through a series that involves some sort of epic war/battle and no one from the protagonists side is killed. Significant characters need to die to keep things interesting! Don’t believe me? Watch Game of Thrones. Even though I found it a little predictable after his ‘destroy my room’ speech, and then even more so when Violet broke all the mirrors, it was still a good way for him to go. I think the thing I liked best about it was that it was Violet’s fault; made her look and feel like shit, which she deserves. I don’t like it when a character spends the entire series thinking they can’t do wrong; they’re god’s gift to the world; they are flawless. I could obviously see her flaws, but Violet couldn’t. She needed a good slap in the face.

I wish we got to know some of the other girls better. They join Violet’s war, some even die for it in the end, and yet I couldn’t care less! There was no attachment. Ewing just shot out a handful of female names, maybe mentioned which element they control,  and then killed them. Were we supposed to cry for them? If you want a real impact, you have to make us care about these girls, or at least connect to them! it was like Ewing attempted to create Deathly-Hallows-Battle-Light, listing the names of the dead as if it were Tonks, Lupin or Fred. I bawled my eyes out at the end of Harry Potter… could muster up an awww or sad face for these girls because I could barely remember who they were! 

I will admit that the auction day battle was sort of entertaining, but not enough to justify reading three books to get to it. The best part was Carnelian’s revenge! I was so happy she got to do the honour instead of Violet. Again, another interesting character that Ewing should have focused on more.

A character that she could have done without was Violet’s broher. I don’t even remember his name. He was actually useless to the entire plot. Nothing would change if he didn’t exist. Did her brother need to be in the black key? No. Did he need to travel with Ash? No. Did he do ANYTHING significant? No. So what’s the point? At least Violet’s sister was a key character in the final novel.

OK, here’s my last complaint.

I hate hate hate the fact that it was so easy for Violet to get back into the palace. Using her powers to change her appearance just seemed like a cop-out; another reason to hate the whole magical element. I get that she needs to save her sister, and that this gives her a way back into the palace so we can see the ‘evil’ characters again, but I just wish Ewing found a different way to make this happen! Oh well, I don’t think anything she could have done would save my opinion of the series at this point.

Alright, I’m done! I can’t rant anymore. I’m getting a headache.

It’s quite obvious that I wasn’t a fan of this series, but I know it had potential to be great! I guess The Handmaid’s Tale will forever be in a class of its own; authors can try to imitate it, but it’s hard to succeed.

That being said, if any book babies know of another book similar to Atwood’s,  please let me know! Much appreciated!

And for those who are not detoured by my not-so-steller review of Ewing’s novels, I still wish you a happy read! Not all book babies have the same taste in novels, so enjoy The Jewel, The White Rose, and The Black Key if you can!

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