Even book series.
But when it's the right end for the right series, it feels almost like a bittersweet doorway. While you are walking through the end of Unknown and new experiences, you're also walking through The Beginning of knowing and loving these characters again and again throughout a lifetime.
The Out of Time series is one of those collections.
It didn't take me long after buying the series to dive into book 2. But I am pleased to say that I didn't eat it in a short amount of binge-reading time like the other two. I stretched and stretched it out in the most pleasant of ways--reading some of it and then taking days or longer in between to make it last longer. I was not in a hurry to see the end. (With, you know, still one binge-read last Saturday. After a certain point there is no stopping for love of mercy or homework grading.)
So let's have at it. And if you haven't read book two yet, then turn right around and head the other way. Here be spoilers that can't be helped. ;)
The Book [official description]
What more can you sacrifice than your life?
Parvin Blackwater is dead.
At least that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.
Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?
I think what I love most about the Out of Time series is that it is a twisting kaleidoscope of hard and fun. Characters suffer and hurt and learn and grieve and lose and sin. But at the same time, they conquer, love, laugh, experience relief and friendship and survival and God. It is visionary YA literature: thinking stuff that still helps you relax in the evenings. I appreciated as a young adult who's no longer a teenager that Parvin and Solomon acted mature, even though they were young--and I think this casts such a good vision for the audience reading it. That YA novels don't have to be about gratification and rebellion. They can be about young people learning and growing, who are also working to serve others and make the world a better place. That's exactly what YA should be. Parvin grows from caring about herself to caring about others, and in a time of life when it is so, so easy to get wrapped up in our own concerns, this example is vital. She's not boring or stiff or goody-goody while she does it. She's very real, praying and crying and learning to love a guy, and wondering how in the world it's all going to turn out--but she still pursues shalom.
I liked the added twist in this book of Parvin swallowing a knowledge cap of things she would never ever have wanted to know. She's struggled with outward forces up to this point, and even inward forces, but struggling with an urge to use the knowledge of self-defense against her enemies made her choices very real and difficult--especially when people were in her power and death felt like the best choice to make. Seeing her wrestling with that temptation contrasted other character's choices in a very powerful mirror theme.
And the climax. The climax. That was just the calibre of tension and excitement you want after a three book series. Perfect pacing, dilemmas, love, sacrifice, and camaraderie after the build-up of the previous books. It was a climax that delivers everything you want it to deliver.
(some wounds will never be recovered from, but they are beautiful scars.)
This is a series that I will fiercely enjoy the memory of. It leaves you aching in some places, whole in others. I will keep it and thumb through favorite parts (gotta read that climax again) and one of these fine days I'll start over again from book 1, because favorite books are like good friends: they deserve fellowship more than once. And Parvin, in the most aching, beautiful, shalom way, is a good friend.