May. 13th, 2011

naomi_jay: (halo girl)

 
The final installment of the Morgan Kingsley series sees exorcist-turned-demon-host Morgan making lots of coffee, worrying about how defensive she is, and making lots more coffee. And uh... that's pretty much it. Really. This didn't feel like the end of a series. I know Black mentioned on Deadline Dames when the book was released that she'd deliberately left some loose threads in case she got the chance to revisit the world, but really...

Basically, over the past four books, we've been building to a confrontation between Lugh, the benevolent demon king currently hiding out in Morgan's body, and Dougal (Dougal!), the evil pretender to the throne who wants to kill all humans. I wanted fireworks. I wanted epic battles. I wanted drama. At the very least, I wanted fewer committee meetings, but sadly this book was about 80% committee meetings, 10% coffee making, and 10% other stuff that should have been important but wasn't. I won't lie, I feel let down. The big battle between Lugh and Dougal never happens. Dougal is killed by another character, and it may as well have happened off-page for all the tension involved. The majority of the book is Lugh's council wringing their hands over what to do about stuff that doesn't actually end up being that critical anyway.

So here's the deal. I'm not adverse to ambiguous endings in books, but if you're advertising a book as a showdown between powerful superbeings, with mortals caught in the middle and likely to die ... well, I'd like to read that, you know? Morgan and her cohorts are never in danger. People die, but they're drug addicts, so nobody worries too much. A main character apparently dies, but then comes back, so nobody has to grieve over him. Dougal's earth-based demon army just kinda wanders off at the end, because the good guys decide there's no point doing anything with them for some reason. It's like everyone in the book is just going through the motions to see the plot through to it's lack-lustre climax.

By the end of the book, nothing has changed for anyone. Morgan and Brian still have this dumb relationship dance going on, where whenever one moves forward, the other moves back. Morgan is still possessed because nobody is strong enough to exorcise Lugh, so she's stuck with him until she dies. Nobody really seems to think this is worth more than a passing mention, whereas to me it seems like a really big deal. As long as Lugh's still in Morgan's body, the demon world is in stasis - nobody on the throne, no direction, nothing. So really, they may as well have left Dougal there for all the good killing him did. The only character who shows any kind of growth is Raphael, and nobody likes him, so he may as well not have bothered.

This is a series that started with so much promise. The idea of a demon-hating exorcist forced to share her body with the demon king during a war for the demon throne should have abounded with danger, moral conflict, political intrigue, and angst. Instead we mostly get Morgan making millions of pots of coffee and arguing with people, Morgan seems pretty convinced she's a changed person by the end of The Devil's Playground, but I don't see it. I imagine that if we revisited Morgan a year later, she'd still be arguing with Brian, making coffee, and musing over how defensive she is. And I would probably have to slap her.

 

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