Tristan in particular comes into his own in this final installment. His relationships with others are layered and complicated, and he realizes it in a way that gives his character new depth. He also sounds like a teenage boy, and that voice is consistent, making this a rare book that contains both swoon-worthy romance and teen boy humor. The secondary characters are vividly portrayed and fully realized as well, with a noteworthy villain who becomes nearly sympathetic even while she will scare the sleep out of readers' eyes.
The plot moves at a relentless pace. Tristan only has two days, and everything is coming to a head. The stakes are incredibly high, and the twists and turns will keep readers glued to the pages. The only difficulty I had was that I sometimes lost my bearings a bit in the middle of the action scenes, but that didn't detract from the tension or from my overall enjoyment of the book. Even with the relentless plot, Cordova takes time to give us a satisfactory ending for the relationships we've grown to care about.
As always, I have to mention the mythology. This is one of the most interesting, compelling mermaid series in print. The mythology has a Greek emphasis with a dash of pirate lore and a hint of fae thrown into the mix. Mermaids and other sea monsters are not cutesy beings who sing while basking in the sun on rocks. They are a fierce race of rulers with political intrigue, alliances, enemies, magic, betrayal, friendship, love, and the power to either destroy the world or to save it. The true seduction of Tristan's story is that he embodies all that is fierce and powerful and wild about mermen while also embodying all that is loyal and determined and true about the humans he was raised among. He is a hero who sacrifices it all against incredible odds to save not only those he loves but the rest of the world as well.
An epic, satisfying conclusion to a thoroughly compelling series, THE VAST AND BRUTAL SEA delivers a story rich in romance, action, and heroism worth rooting for.