After enduring the worst of Vaughn's tests and experiments, Rhine escapes and finds refuge with the most unlikely person, Vaughn's brother Reed. Cecily refuses to leave her side and Linden is still bitter and untrusting after all the lies, but somehow manages to still be supportive of her efforts. The characters embark on a journey to find Rowan that leads them to discover things that hadn't even imagined...and they may not be better off knowing.
I loved it and I hated it and I'm just so confused! All these goddamn feelings! I really enjoyed parts of this and it was fascinating finally seeing so many of the pieces fall together, especially the things I wasn't expecting, but fuck were there some disappointments. The chief among them was Rhine herself, who gets better a little in the beginning, including Linden & Cecily in her thought process and decisions, but goes right back to hiding things and running away on her own, which was just selfish and stupid. She abused her relationship with Linden and even after all the shit she put him through, he still bends over backwards to help her and she just seems so ungrateful. Then she finally finds Rowan and learns that he knows Vaughn and is more or less enamored with the evil doctor for his work towards a cure and she says NOTHING. It's obvious that she disapproves, but she doesn't even try to explain things to Rowan at all, not even when Vaughn spews outright lies to cover his tracks. I wanted to slap her!
Rowan himself was a little too naive, but otherwise pretty likeable. Cecily does a lot of growing up in this one and she quickly became one of my two favorite characters, the other being Reed. Reed is Vaughn's completely opposite and so quirky that I took to him immediately.
Poor Linden gets his eyes opened, whether he wants it or not and he is the character I felt most sympathy for. Poor boy has never known anything but the best luxuries money can buy and has never had cause to doubt his father, but he does now. One of the biggest reasons I cannot love this novel is because Linden dies. I found that to be completely cruel and unnecessary. Yes, Vaughn deserved to be punished, but not like that because Linden never did anything wrong.
Another big issue was that Gabriel isn't in the book except a tinsy bit at the end. This felt like a return to love-triangle land because even though Rhine and Linden were annulling their marriage, it's their relationship that deepened, not the one with Gabriel and that angers me. I love Linden and he deserves happiness, but I'm firmly on team Gabriel and that's what I wanted more of.
Basically what I'm trying to say is that this is a pretty good ending to a fascinating trilogy, and while it is enjoyable, there were a few key issues that kept it from being completely loveable.