Title: The Black Key
Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #3
Genre: Teen Dystopian
Rating: 3/5 stars
The Overview: For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived in service to the royalty of the Jewel. But now the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power. And while Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return to save not only Hazel, but the future of the Lone City. -Goodreads
I’m a fan of this series. Not only did it help alleviate my book hangover from Cass’s Selection series, but it also offered a story that was a smidge more robust. Unfortunately, The Black Key was my least favorite of the trilogy… but I’m still glad I read it.
The first half of The Black Key was every bit as good as the first two books, however, near the end I had some issues. The conclusion of the series is were all of the conflicts are supposed to escalate. They did it to a degree, but I was expecting an epic finish with a lot of moving parts. In reality the big shebang of the series was kind of… underdeveloped. Up until that point, I appreciated Ewing for her world building when it came to the little things, but now believe the overall arc of the story could have used some work.
The best example I can give is the Lone City itself – it’s an island surrounded by a colossal wall within which are several districts separated out by class and industry (the Jewel being the wealthiest at the center). Having finish the series, I know exactly the same amount of information about it that I’d learned at the beginning. I was earnestly looking forward to discovering more about its origins and the world beyond it in The Black Key. I didn’t, hence my disappointment. Add this lack of expansion to the plausibility issues at the end of the series and you can see why I was a smidge disappointed. I did like the overall resolution (but even now find myself questioning its memorability).
Overall, I liked The Black Key, but I didn’t love it.
But is the series still worth reading? Totally! Especially if you loved The Selection series but wanted more world building and grit. Read the first one at the very least and if you’re like me, you’ll fall in love with the beautiful writing and the unique concept. As critical as I’ve been about the third book, I will definitely read anything else Amy Ewing decides to get published because her writing was beautiful, her ideas were interesting, and her story was very engaging.
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