Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL
It's been about a week since I finished this book, and I've read a couple of other books in the meantime. I think the reason I've hesitated to write this review is because that would actually mean the series is over for me, not unlike a funeral ritual cements the end of a life. Felix Castor maintained a consistent arc throughout the books and it's concluded where it needs to end. As much as I adore Felix and enjoy reading about him, I'm glad Mr. Carey isn't trying to milk the character long after there isn't anywhere new or interesting to take him (Dresden Files and Wild Cards come to mind as bad examples of such).
The final installment of the Felix Castor series was beautiful, though for reasons different than I liked the earlier books. The whodunnit was basically a no-show in this book; the elements of mystery were clearly just there to frame the inevitable Final Boss Fight and as such there were numerous holes and a handful of inconsistencies, and the plot as a whole was predictable. We don't meet a lot of new characters, but the cast of allies and enemies that Felix has accumulated in the last four books are all there in all their gloriousness.
This book wraps up all the arcs. The supporting cast - at least the characters that have survived Felix's aquaintence so far - all come to places different than where they started. It's almost an HEA for Felix's friends. Even his zombie buddy finds the means and motivation to come out of his self imposed isolation and find ways to interact with the living world. The people on Felix's shitlist each get theirs too. With one exception that leaves room open for a second series... he wrote, in a hopeful tone.
Felix also leaves us a changed man. In book one, we were introduced to a burned out, borderline alcoholic, lonely, temperamental middle aged man racked by guilt who only knew how to relate to people by driving them away and trying to get by on his past glories. By the end of the book, Felix has atoned (suffered) for his transgressions, learned to trust, built a new life that allows him to support himself, and is even beginning to open himself up for romantic entanglements.
And this is why this is one of my most favorite stories ever. I see an illustration of a character, who's flaws and fears and mistakes remind me so much of my own, find the means to come to peace with his guilt and anger and transcend the past to create a new future for him and his friends based on hope, caring and mutual appreciation. What more can you ask for from a book? I started this series enthralled by the sarcastic smartass with one good skill surrounded by interesting characters and finished it deeply invested in this guy and those close to him.
Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.