What: 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)