Covenant’s End (Widdershins Adventures #4) by Ari Marmell
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Publisher: Pyr Books
Release date: February 3 2015
Source: ARC from publisher
The nitty-gritty: A bittersweet ending to a much-loved series.
“Of all the plans you’ve ever hatched,” Igraine growled, peering around the shadowy street corner at their startlingly well-lit destination, “this one is inarguably one of the most Widdershins.”
“Oh. Well, thank you!”
“That wasn’t a compliment!”
“You think not?” Shins sniffed. “Shows what you know. Nobody plans the way I do!”
“Now that, I agree with.”
You might be asking this question: “Tammy, why did you decide to read Covenant’s End when you haven’t read the first three books??” That’s a great question, and I wish I had a good answer! However, despite the fact that I have not read the previous books in the series, I had a damn fine time with this one, and it only served to whet my appetite for Widdershins’ earlier adventures. Marmell has created one hell of a character with Widdershins. I simply adored her, and I’ve added her to my “all-time favorite characters list.”
The story wasn’t all smooth sailing, because obviously I’ve missed out on some important world building—like the story of how Shins and Olgun came to be together—but it wasn’t that difficult to read between the lines and at least understand enough to keep the story flowing. Several of the relationships between characters aren’t explained at all (and why should they be?), but Marmell is such a good writer that even during those moments I was able to grasp most of what was going on.
For those of you who are new to the series, Widdershins (“Shins” for short) has a god named Olgun living inside her head. They communicate telepathically and supposedly no one knows about Olgun (Although I’m not quite clear about that. I think some people might know.) Olgun is able to enhance Shins’ physical abilities and more or less turn her into a superhero of sorts, by allowing her jump extra high or cling to the sides of tall buildings. Together they really kick butt, but they do it with a unique sense of humor, which is one of the reasons I loved them so much.
When Covenant’s End begins, Shins and Olgun are returning to Shins’ home town of Davillon, after the events at the end of Lost Covenant. Shins’ friends are mad at her for leaving them—she’s been gone almost a year—and she’s going to have to work hard to get back on their good side. But Davillon needs her now, more than ever. Shins’ enemy Lisette has also returned to Davillon, this time with some very intimidating supernatural powers under her belt. Lisette is primed to take over the city, and she’s got some very scary and nasty creatures to help her in that quest. Shins has her work cut out for her, trying to defeat Lisette and keep the city from fracturing even more than it already has.
As I mentioned before, Shins is quite the character. She has her own brand of swearing, which I found charming. She says things like, “Holy horsebubbles!” and “Oh, for pastry’s sake!” and “Oh, goose muffins!” I’m not sure if this was for the sake of the younger audience who these books are intended for, but whatever the reason behind it, it was just one more thing I loved about Shins.
Even though I missed the way these relationships developed during the first three books, it was very clear that these characters have strong feelings for each other. Shins’ best friend Robin, who has been gravely injured by Lisette, is still hurting from Shins’ disappearance and has replaced Shin with a girl named Faustine. There was a bit of unrequited love going on between Shins and Robin, which broke my heart. I’m sure the first three books add lots of character development that will make this relationship even more poignant.
Other relationships, like the one between Shins and Renard, gave me a glimpse of something special, but there wasn’t enough of them together in this book to really satisfy my curiosity. All of the characters, though, are brought to vivid life with Marmell’s dazzling dialog and witty sense of humor. Shins and Olgun steal the show, however, with their constant banter and teasing. It’s hard to imagine how an author could pull off such a feat as writing great dialog between two people when one of them doesn’t even speak! But he manages to do just that, and I found myself laughing out loud many times during this story.
Near the end, Shins and Olgun are forced to make a terrible decision that will affect both of them, which is where the “bittersweet” part of the story comes in. I loved the way Marmell incorporates the religious beliefs of this society into what ultimately happens between the two characters. I’m looking forward to going back and catching up on the world-building I missed, because I know these scenes will make much more sense to me.
I didn’t talk much about the plot of Covenant’s End, but I figure if you haven’t started this series yet, you’ll thank me later for not spoiling the story. And by the way, if you are an adult reader and you’re shaking your head because these are young adult books, I can safely tell you that this is one of those rare series that works well for any age group.
So take it from me, someone who apparently likes to do things backwards, pick up a copy of Thief’s Covenant (Book #1) if you haven’t started this series yet, and get ready for a rollicking good time.
Big thanks to Pyr Books for supplying a review copy! Quote above was taken from a review copy and may differ in the final version of the book.
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