A fitting end to a magnificent series!
There is so much I want to say about this book (and this series), not the least of which is that my life is so much better having had this story and these characters in it. While I am sad that The Torn Earth is the conclusion to a wonderful trilogy, I am not left wanting. I don’t believe there is a more perfect finale for the story, the characters, and the world they exist in.
Michaelson brings the gang back one last time after the tumultuous events of book two. Each character deals with grief, healing, and new Earth-shattering predicaments—each of which is handled beautifully between dramatic descriptive prose and Michaelson’s signature comedic relief. Having spent two books with these characters, watching their arcs unfold when faced with the impossible is both satisfying and engaging. I think it’s fair to say I’ve been highly invested in where Marcus, Zara, Dmitri, and Oscar end up.
As stated in The Bone Gate, ‘new beginnings don’t always mean happy endings.’ That theme persists in The Torn Earth as the gang faces a breach in Theia and Earth as well as insidious enemies hellbent on absolute power. Michaelson balances a myriad of baddies with an Earth-ending catastrophe and somehow still manages to create an elaborate weaving of characters and their personal journeys...not to mention navigating the potential end of the worlds.
Composed differently than its predecessors, The Torn Earth spans seven acts, each of which is centered on one of the main characters. I personally loved this stylistic choice, as I was able to be immersed in the story of each character while watching the threads meet and tangle with one another to create a full and complex story.
As always, the artwork within the book is magnificent. The taxonomic entries are utterly amazing, and I love the tie-ins throughout the chapters as well as the previous books. Seeing some familiar faces from The Little Book of Lesser Known Monsters was a pleasant surprise and I highly suggest giving the companion short stories a read before starting The Torn Earth.
Overall, this book (and series) is one of the most well-written fantasies out there today. The complex characters, the queer representation, the diversity, and touching storylines are bar none. And the ending…it honestly could not have been more perfect. Michaelson has managed to bring everything, even small ties to the first book, full circle. The Lesser Known Monsters trilogy feels complete, and I could not have asked for a better conclusion and wrap-up of so many characters and their lives (both stated and imagined).