*** As Sapphire Sun is the third book in a series, this review will contain spoilers for the first two books. ***
“All magic has a price, dearie.”
~ Rumpelstiltskin, Once Upon A Time
All choices have consequences. Even seemingly small choices can have a ripple effect creating unforeseen events, and the greater the choice the greater the risk. At the conclusion of Silver Dew, in a stand-off with her & Caolinn’s enemies, Gracelynn makes the self-sacrificial choice to destroy the Lost Magic. A choice which results in the loss of memory and magic for all parties involved. A choice which leads to an unwanted promise and a surprising ally. A choice that threatens Gracelynn and Sebastian’s love. A choice in a series of choices that has created a new evil that must be defeated even if it comes at a terrible cost.
Gracelynn. I love how strong she’s become throughout this series. From the unsatisfied-but-willing-to-maintain-the-status-quo girl she was in Amber Frost, to a girl who’s really come into her own. Gracelynn’s found courage and confidence, and she’s become a leader instead of a follower. She’s made mistakes, some rather large ones, but she’s becoming reconciled to her past and what Caolinn means to her. She’s fallen in love (again) with the boy who’s held her heart through time. Though loving Sebestian has helped her discover who she is, and that she’s strong with him, she’s also discovered strength without him. Her character arc as a whole has just been rather fantastic through this series.
That said, it was hard to watch Grace in this novel, though her journey was necessary and entirely keeping with her character. Her anger and desperation made her a little hard to connect with and some of her decisions hard to support. She becomes somewhat reckless and dangerous as she vows to do whatever it takes to get Sebastian back. It’s interesting to note in this novel how Gracelynn merges a little bit more with Caolinn, finding a middle-ground, so to speak, between herself and her former self.
Sebastian. I’m trying to keep my lips sealed on what’s up with him, because through most of the novel I was all, “Suzi! What are you doing to my Sebastian?!” It’s been hinted at in the previous books that there’s a darkness to Sebastian’s character, and in Sapphire Sun, you get to see more of what that entails. His arc throughout this book is hard and heart-wrenching, but well done.
David. A former friend of Sebastian’s, but more recently a dangerous adversary, David has forgotten both his past and his connection to the Lost Magic, but is trying his hardest to remember. What happens if he remembers? Will he be friend or foe?
Characters & Characterization. I wish there had been more time to get to know the many secondary characters Suzi introduces in Sapphire Sun, but I love what Suzi does with Sebastian, Grace and David. She puts her characters through so much, taking them right to the brink and sometimes beyond, and I adore that kind of risky character development.
Another aspect of the character development that I really found interesting is in the search for identity esp. in regard to the same soul living multiple lives. It’s fascinating seeing some of these characters work through things they’d done, events they’d set into motion, decisions they’d made in the past – things that they aren’t necessarily proud of. Are these decisions still a part of them? Are they the person they were or the person they are now? Are they a bit of both? And how do you live with the sins of the past?
Yeah. Interesting, right?
Romance. Passionate. Heartbreaking. Agonizing. Heart-wrenching. There were a few moments in Sapphire Sun that took me by completely by surprise, made me re-evaluate my feelings, and that left me extremely unsure as to how and if everything would work out. As much as I hated it, I loved the uncertainty – the fact that Suzi made me feel taken aback and conflicted. And did it all work out? <insert maniacal, evil laugh here> I’ll never tell. Read the book.
Story. Though it felt a little… not as polished as the first two books, and though I had hoped for a bit more transition from the ending of Silver Dew to the beginning of this novel, Sapphire Sun is extremely enjoyable and a great continuation of this series. The pacing of the first third was a little slow, but necessary. And once it gets going, it’s going at breakneck speed until the conclusion.
World. Small thing, but I love that this series is Canadian-based. I’m wracking my brain trying to think of any other YA series that I’ve read that’s set in Canada, or that even travels to Canada, and I’m coming up with… nothing. Why isn’t Canada used as a setting more often? I don’t know, but honestly more series should immigrate beyond western Europe and the Lower 48. Same is lame, people.
Another thing I love about the world of the Lost Magic is the ancient feel Suzi creates. The sense of historical depth she weaves as she connects her characters’ present lives with their pasts.
And this ties into the last thing I want to mention – that I already briefly touched on – about consequences. I appreciate the rules of magic in this book. Though triggered according to a person’s desires, magic isn’t to be used for every tiny whim. The ability to wield magic comes with temptations, opportunities, and a great responsibility. Using magic is a choice, and choices have consequences, and as is often the case, consequences have a way of catching up to a person.
Overall. Emotionally-charged, wonderfully conflicting, and achingly romantic, Sapphire Sun is the fantastic third act in Sebastian and Gracelynn’s story.