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the-black-keyWhat: The Black Key (The Lone City #3) by Amy Ewing

Who: Walker Books

When: October 6th 2016

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Walker Books Australia for review.

Violet and the Society of the Black Key are preparing to launch an attack on the royalty, and Violet has a crucial role to play. She must lead the surrogates as they infiltrate the Auction and break down the walls of the Lone City. But with her sister, Hazel, imprisoned in the palace of the Lake, Violet is torn. In order to save her sister, she must abandon her cause and her friends and return to the Jewel.


The Lone City trilogy as a whole is a solid three stars from me. There was never anything that I particularly adored about it, nor was there anything that I particularly didn’t like. I just generally and solidly liked it.

The Black Key was quite a different finale than others I have read in the dystopian genre. Usually they are full of fighting and high stakes and action, action, action all the time. The Black Key, however, was only like this in the last few chapters. Instead, the majority of the book is Violet back in the palace of the Lake, under the thumb of the Duchess once again. This decision was made out of haste, and supposedly to protect and save Violet’s sister, Hazel.

However, there was little to no protection nor saving of Hazel once Violet was in the palace of the Lake again. It was really just a revisit of the first book, but instead of Violet being one of the upper crust she was a servant. I didn’t really understand this aspect of the storyline at all. I felt like Violet leaving her friends at The White Rose just before their big revolutionary move seemed a little hasty, especially if she only saw Hazel a handful of times at the palace of the Lake, anyway. It seemed to serve no purpose other than getting Violet back in the Jewel and trying but failing to learn anything about the Duchess’s plans for her little sister.

I missed Ash and Raven in this book, because they were not with Violet for the most part of the novel. I found that Violet’s interaction with them, and her connection to the two of them were some of the strongest parts of her as a character, and the story in general. There were a few moments when Violet was with Ash and Raven, but they were mostly at the beginning, and far too fleeting.

At the start of The Black Key, Violet and Raven visit some of the girls who are learning the Auguries and introduce them to the idea that they were not born to bear children for people who live in the Jewel, but are rather descendants of magical and awesome women who inhabited the island in the first place. I really enjoyed this aspect, and wish there had been more of it, since the girls that they met end up playing a huge role in the overall story. To have more of this part of the plot, to get to know the girls and form a connection would have benefitted the book so much.

As for The Black Key as an ending to a series, I think it did really well. The reader is not privy to the future, only the immediate aftermath of what has happened, but there was enough speculation and expectation of what the future would look like (with hard work, obviously) that I was pretty pleased. The actual ending (the last few pages) were really quite lovely, and I am glad that there was an ending with such freedom for a character who had seen very little of it.

© 2016, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning:  murder, abduction, physical assault, war themes, and forced prostitution in this novel (includes mentions of past torture, past miscarriage, forced castration of a child, death of a sibling, and death of a parent)


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Posted on: October 4, 2016 • By: Chiara

5 Responses to The Black Key by Amy Ewing: A Pretty Satisfying Conclusion + Giveaway

  1. I don’t think I know this series. I get what you mean about something being a sold 3 star read though. It’s something that was good enough and nice to read, but it’s not a favorite or something you want to re-read. That’s how I usually see 3 star reads.

    • Chiara says:

      That’s exactly how I feel about this series! There was nothing really great or really bad about it, but I’m still glad I enjoyed it because it was entertaining :)

  2. I’ve heard some varying things about this series, but I’m glad you found this a decent conclusion nonetheless. It’s a shame that you didn’t completely love it, but I’m glad you liked it well enough. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    • Chiara says:

      I haven’t seen many overwhelmingly positive things about it, which is kind of sad! I definitely enjoyed the reading experience of this series. No problem, lovely! Thanks for stopping by <3

  3. Romi says:

    Eh heh heh heh. *waves* Hi there. Here I am. DID YOU ANTICIPATE THIS. Also, I’m silently laughing because I’ve just left an ~extended~ amount of comments on old posts that you’ve already replied to the comments on. *snorts and grins charmingly*

    I *also* really enjoyed reading your review of this book, although the fact I wasn’t around (I don’t think… would be awkward, now, if we found out I was – DON’T LOOK IT UP) when you reviewed the other two books (and the additional fact I haven’t read reviews for any but the first book, those being two and many years prior to this moment) means I have less of a general idea of what actually happens in this series and your thoughts on those things, and some of the termonology was lost on me, but that was actually pretty interesting because when we read books and talk about them, we gradually (either in the beginning or as we continue to read and talk about) use the terms and specific words and to someone who hasn’t read the series it can be completely bizarre. And yet if you know, it makes absolute sense, and it’s quite unique and interesting to see both sides of that.

    I really, really like the sound of the scene where Violet and Raven visit the other girls and talk to them about why they’re here, and that they don’t have this sole purpose that they’ve been told, because that sounds lovely and emotional and would probably have been my favourite part of the book. I guess in dystopia it tends to be the MC who finds out the ~truth~, which I expect Violet did in the first or second book, but her then going and helping others with that truth in a way that isn’t just trying to get people to join a rebellion or something, it’s really good. Important, I guess. I like the sound of it a whole lot.

    I’m also keen on the fact it was a different last book to other dystopias, because with any genre the tropes can be so overused (hence the becoming tropes) that nothing is surprising. In dystopia, so often it’s the last book is all about the fight, and the fact that this wasn’t, not entirely and not even for the most part, is quite nice to hear.

    I’m happy that this was a pretty soldily enjoyable series for you, Chiara. Your review was really great in that it pinpointed not only the ways in which it WAS satisfying, but the things that made it only satisfying (which is still a really good thing) and not excellent. I LIKED IT. xx

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