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Splendor ~ Anna Godberson

December 7, 2009

Genre: Young Adult

Publisher: Harper Collins

400 pages

ISBN: 9780061626319

I haven’t read too many books in series and those I have, generally disappoint when everything is all said and done. I’d like to send a big “thank you” to Anna Godberson for not falling into the trap of a luke warm ending. Her fourth and final book in the Luxe series threatened to fit into the expected but found every way around it possible. Like many books reviewed as second, third, or fourth in a line of a story, it’s incredibly hard, as a reader, to explain enough about the story without giving all of the prior details away.

That said, there is much to be commended, ambiguously. Godberson managed to change the tone of her story in relation to the time and place with ease. What started as the nineteenth century in the first book transitioned to the new century with the easy and energy of the incoming decade. As the story took root for the final act, our fair characters were flung to the literal four corners of the world, in all places, maintaining their past energy while ramping up the drama for their new whereabouts. Although it is briefly discussed, the old cliche of class and war is looked into both in the upper class finding privilege even in the barracks and in the wealthy struggling to find a deeper meaning in “it all” by throwing themselves headlong into battle.

Characters I had heretofore written off came back with a vengeance (and a backbone) for the final hour. I was incredibly pleased with the way Elizabeth, the prized centerpiece of a fading era, developed through the series, especially in the final volume. She teetered on the edge of superfluity and boredom for a good deal of the story but truly came into a three dimensional person in Splendor. Diana, the younger, rougher, albeit more interesting sister of the aforementioned belle of the ball, only became more flamboyantly fun and engaging. She held her own until the last drop, never losing her insecurities but always maintaining the life and love she added to the story. As for the men involved, they were always slightly less dimensional than their female counterparts but did mange to squeak in a little bit of heart and depth around the edges.

I found the final book the most enjoyable, which, as I said, rarely happens. The entire series was a little lighter than my usual fare but it proved entertaining and alluring enough to keep me engaged to the last moment.

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