The Bronzed Beasts (The Gilded Wolves, #3)
After Séverin's seeming betrayal, the crew is fractured. Armed with only a handful of hints, Enrique, Laila, Hypnos and Zofia must find their way through the snarled, haunted waterways of Venice, Italy to locate Séverin. Meanwhile, Séverin must balance the deranged whims of the Patriarch of the Fallen House and discover the location of a temple beneath a plague island where the Divine Lyre can be played and all that he desires will come to pass. With only ten days until Laila expires, the crew will face plague pits and deadly masquerades, unearthly songs and the shining steps of a temple whose powers might offer divinity itself...but at a price they may not be willing to pay.
This final book picks up where the last ended, with the friends all dealing with the breach of trust and uncertain future. Laila is particularly unsure of where she will end, as the countdown tells her that her death is imminent. Severin is with Ruslan, who is playing devious and terrible games, ones that Severin is not yet sure how to escape. The others are struggling to keep themselves together and accomplish the mission that now drives them.
What I loved: This whole trilogy is written in absolutely stunning prose, and this final book is no different. The language is imaginative and builds lush imagery, making the world-building and atmosphere truly something to behold. The book also includes a lot of mythology, stories from their pasts, and philosophical discussions that add some thought-provoking elements to the book. It feels so much deeper than just the story on the surface and so much more beautiful for it.
The characters are truly multi-dimensional and all really compelling. The book is told from many perspectives, which means that the whole team feels like main characters. I particularly enjoyed Zofia's sections in this book as she strives to bring meaning into her life and relationships, but they were all something to behold. Each of the main characters, including Severin, Laila, Zofia, Enrique, and Hypnos, are fully realized and become easily endeared to the reader through their reflections and emotions.
The themes here of mortality, godhood, love, friendship, and trust were particularly strong. I particularly found the reflections on love and romantic relationships to be really powerful throughout the story, as all of these characters are perfectly imperfect and trying to figure out their own paths. The thought-provoking nature of the book makes this one that is not easily read in a short time period but deserves digesting, discussion, and further reflection.
The end was heart-breaking, beautiful, and absolutely fantastic. Fans will certainly leave the series satisfied, even with some tears on their cheeks.
Final verdict: A beautiful and lush finale, THE BRONZED BEASTS is a wonderful historical fantasy that takes the reader on a thought-provoking and magical journey. Highly recommend reading this trilogy!