Reviewed by Ulysses Dietz
Member of The Paranormal Guild Review Team
“Do you always do too-stupid-to-live stuff?”
This would be a really, really expensive movie.
Two things to take note regarding this final volume of the Starfig Investigations trilogy: it’s written from Quinn Broomsparkle’s perspective, and it’s a whole lot darker than the first two volumes in the series. The giddy, sitcom quality of the first two books isn’t entirely absent, and really kicks back in during the last part of the adventure. Nonetheless, lots of serious, upsetting stuff happens in this story, which focuses on Quinn’s return to his birthplace – the Hominus Realm – and to the Citadel of witches that rules over his homeland and ruins his life.
The half-dragon Twig Starfig has dominated the narrative so far, even though we’ve really gotten to know his mate, Quinn, very well. Each of these two guys is of equal importance, to us and to the author. It’s interesting to hear Quinn’s voice, and to finally really dig into this young man’s heart and mind.
Of course, my comment about this being an expensive movie should be expanded to note that this would also be an x-rated movie. Steamy physical encounters are part of the recipe for m/m, and while I am not the greatest fan of this trope, I commend Maslow on her ability to integrate the naughty bits into the emotional and action-driven plot arcs. There is a major and very satisfying resolution to Quinn and Twig’s pairing that is not only critical to the plot, but a catalyst to one of the most epic sequences of battle scenes ever to fill my imagination with mayhem.
Maslow brings all of the larger loose ends together in this dramatic final chapter, keeping the characters – far more than just the two central figures – vivid and compelling. The fantastical absurdity of it all, from pirates to Bill the red fury demon, to Twig’s tiny, arrogant father, is held in check through the deep humanity with which Maslow invests each of her players.
All in all, this series has felt like Disney World on hallucinogens. The fact that I found it both moving and satisfying is a testament to the author’s skills.