I finished Impossible by C.A. Gray a few weekends ago. I had to wait and let things sink in before writing this review. You might think that that’s a bad sign, but it definitely is not. I just had to sort out a few things in my head before I could put pen to paper. Impossible was a fitting conclusion to a wonderfully magical series that fits right in with the likes of Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling) and The Flamels (Michael Scott). And finding a way to bring the series to a close without screwing it up felt like it was going to be impossible task for the author. I am so happy to be wrong!
This is the conclusion of the story that goes something like this: there are paranormal creatures called penumbra. They are out and about in the world controlling most humans. It will take a descendant of King Arthur to put a stop to them and the biggest baddest one of all, the Shadow King, wants to rule them and the world (of course!). The descendant of king Arthur is also the subject of a prophecy. And the prophecy is vague enough that we don’t know exactly who the prophecy applies to. We have a few candidates, two of which happen to be teenagers who find themselves faced with trying to save the world, because they believe anyway that they have abilities that no one else has and so the fate of the world rests with them. They head off into the adventure despite the fact that doing so is definitively against the wishes of all of the important and relevant adults. I don’t believe it to be a huge spoiler to say the world is saved, so I’ll tell you the world is saved. But how, and exactly who the prophecy refers to (etc.), you have to go to the spoiler page to learn more. Or, really, better yet don’t check out my page check out the book! While I update and add pages because that’s what I do, I don’t think you should rob yourself of the joy that comes from reading all three installments in this wonderful series.
There were twists and turns and action and magic and all sorts of wonderful things littered throughout the pages of Impossible. From beginning to end the story was well paced, action-packed and most of all, had integrity. The author clearly did her research on the Arthur story and legends. She set the characters on a course and nothing got in the way. A discerning reader could predict some of what happened in the end, but that didn’t take away from the fact that the plot was on a trajectory from the beginning. And it was such a relief to see the author not try to squeeze out an ending that wouldn’t have really fit the rest of the story or the characters just to save someone or stretch the story out.
Despite the fact that this was the culmination of the trilogy the reader continues to see characters develop. That’s not very common in my experience. What I am used to seeing is all plot and no character development by the time you get to the final installment. It seems so often it’s a foregone conclusion that you have learned all there is to each character by the time you get to the end of the story. But here, we are presented with the wonder that is continued character growth. It’s also a nice change to get new characters that play a pivotal role in the plot of the story in the last installment of the series. Typically, at this point we often see that the only new characters are disposable. While Angela may have been someone who could have looked like a number of different things, her character was certainly necessary to get Lily from Arizona to Peter and to move the plot forward towards its end.
The magic continues to be everywhere. The action is exciting and it all culminates in a thrilling and surprising conclusion. It was wonderful to see the author not shy away from the way it felt like it had to end. And while there are still some questions and some grey areas, they are ones that I can live with. In fact, I am guessing that having these debatable points will only add to the enjoyment I will have when I reread these. Much like the few series where I reread each and every installment (some annually) and I do it to discover new things about the story and characters I love so much I bet there are hidden gems that I will discover, little tidbits, tiny surprises and other things that were easily overlooked the first time, when I reread these. Because it’s not a matter of if I reread them but when.
The one criticism I have of this installment surrounds Lily. I know she is there in part to motivate Peter, and she was written to be a little bit weird when we first met her because of her difficult past. But in this book she just got downright annoying. She was super hard to stomach and I went from thinking she could be pretty awesome to loathing her. She seemed selfish, spoiled, whiny, and most of all obnoxious. That’s the kind of character she ended up – to me anyway. I like the ending the way things worked out with the child of the prophecy (first boiler click here) it ended the way I felt it was really most appropriate given the overall trajectory of the story. But I admit there’s a tiny bit of me that wished Lily had been the one to see her demise and not the person who did. She really was just that annoying to me. She whined and complained and schemed to get her own way, without ever thinking things through or realizing any single risk and she really didn’t seem to care about anybody but herself and her own feelings. And, despite the attempt to make it seem like she had feelings for Peter I just don’t think she did after reading her behavior. Not to mention she was so naive. It really took away from the intelligence I thought she had in the first two books. hearing nails squeaking on a chalkboard might have been more pleasant than reading some of her parts. So do you get the feeling that I felt that Lily was a little hard to take? However, issues with Lily aside, it was a truly wonderful book.
And what seems like an impossible task, that is finding a way to end the story without making me as the reader feel like things of been morphed and twisted and way too ugly of a way to get to an end result that I would be okay with, the author here did it. The impossible was finding the right ending, and an ending that felt true to the first parts of the story and the characters, but the author did it. I was impressed and loved the series.
Now will just have to see what else this author can give us!