Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Secret Ending

Yet another series that's drawn to a close in 2014, I recently finished A Secret To Die For by Sierra Dean the eighth and final Secret McQueen novel. I started reading this series about a year ago, and it grew on me quickly for the most obvious reasons– a strong, ass-kicking heroine who will tear through anyone thinking of hurting her loved ones, loyal and loveable sidekicks, wicked fight scenes, and all the monsters a girl could dream of. I loved this series and am sad to see it end, but having it all wrapped up gave me the peace I was hoping for. While this is the last book in the series and the synopsis won't allow for many spoilers, I definitely recommend checking out the other novels and novellas. They're tons of fun and a must for all urban fantasy fans.

Some good looking people on this cover. ;)
Secret McQueen thought she’d seen it all, but that was before she, Desmond and Holden came home to find New York City burning and the streets overwhelmed with the walking dead. Now, in a race against time, she must find out who is responsible for unleashing hell on Earth.

For that, she’s going to need a whole new team of vampire wardens to help round up the perpetrators, who turn out to be a gang that makes Sons of Anarchy look like toddlers on tricycles. Her quest across the city brings old friends and enemies out of the woodwork and reminds Secret once and for all why mercy and forgiveness are not always prudent. Lives will be lost, sacrifices will be made, and when the dust settles, nothing will ever be the same again. 

With no time to mourn her losses, the only question remaining is if Secret can survive long enough to stop the apocalypse…or if this is the one challenge that will finally drown her in rivers of undead blood.

The Secret McQueen novels always began with jumping headfirst into the action, hooking the reader instantly and letting them know what the stakes are. And in this case, the stakes are pretty damn high. Secret has been through a lot– and I mean a lot– but this is the worst apocalypse she's ever faced. The city she loves is being torn apart, and Secret isn't the kind of half vampire, half werewolf that will let that stand. I knew she was going to kick the ass of anyone standing in her way, though (and this will sound weird) I expected her to get roughed up a little more. This is a strange observation because Secret has a tendency to get into some pretty wild fights. If you've read any of the previous books, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Maybe a part of me expected her individual battles to be a little more dire than the circumstances on a whole, but I'm not complaining. It was nice to read Secret's fights and know she wasn't getting ripped to shreds each and every time. The fights she did get in, however? Oh man– I almost felt sorry for her enemies. Almost, since the villains were pretty rabid, and just as dangerous as the dead walking the streets.

But that does not mean her life isn't hanging on by a thread. Oh no. One of the biggest twists was her final meeting with a fae king who made a powerful deal with her in exchange for her life. The scenario regarding the exchange was interesting, and it had the exact ending that I was hoping for.

The teasers for the sacrifices that were made? Those were pretty surprising. I suppose the first one didn't shock me, but the second? Wow, did not see that coming. Yet everything wrapped up just as I hoped it would, leaving virtually no loose ends.

Secret herself remained as awesome as ever– strong, snarky, loyal, and willing to do anything she had to for those she loves. All of her love triangles were wrapped up nicely (with my favorite werewolf still winning her heart), and it was nice to have every living character come back for a final farewell. There were plenty of twists and turns and Secret's final sacrifice was a little heart-wrenching. This is one of the few novels I've read where nothing truly disappointed me. If anything, I wanted more. By the time the novel was finished, all I could think was, "Damn it– why does this have to be the end?!" But Secret has been through more battles than anyone should be able to stand, and she deserves a break.

Sierra Dean has an easy, flowing style that I love. Everything was descriptive and from the heart. Her love for the Secret McQueen series is obvious, as it has carried on longer than any other novels she's written and has an enormous, devoted fan base. I love these books the more I think about them, and highly recommend them to all urban fantasy lovers who root for the underdog. If this series and final novel in particular have taught me anything it's this: Never underestimate the misfit.


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