The conclusion of a story arc is always a joyously sad event. I mean, you finally get the satisfaction of seeing how everything comes together, usually in a big, dramatic event and it’s joyous and exciting because you’ve waited for it for what feels like forever. The sad part is because it’s concluded. The good thing about Forever Wicked is the happily ever after is one fans have been waiting for, for years upon years and it seems Ms. Bangs decided all hands should be on deck, so to speak. It was really awesome to see the ‘plants’ are still doing well. *grin*
The most fascinating revelation about Sparkle and Ganymede is their origins. That was something I never, ever saw coming. In the Castle of Dark Dreamsseries the two protagonists were always Cosmic Troublemakers – they wrought various forms of destruction and misery on worlds and on Earth. It’s what they did and what they were. However, throughout the series I saw them slowly morph into something else besides destroyers and troublemakers and this novel explains why. It was very cool. Actually, it was kind of sad too, and shocking. It’s that element that leads the plot into twists and turns that does Ms. Bangs justice.
As far as the romance goes between Sparkle and Ganymede, it starts off bumpy because they kind of broke up with each other in the previous novel. I say ‘kind of’ because it was more a matter of hurt feelings than either one not being in love with the other, so there was a lot of healing and attempts at reconciling in the first part of the story. It’s the threat they face and the realization that they are stronger together than apart when faced with the biggest fight in their long lives that brings them back together.
In fact, all of my favorite characters where brought back to play important parts in the final, dramatic and exciting conclusion. Seeing them again sparked an interest to read the whole series from beginning to end and relive why I enjoyed this series so much. The variety of personalities always kept the story arc fresh and interesting.
Anyone who has read Ms. Bangs’ works knows that humor is a big part in the lives of her characters and that remains true in Forever Wicked. Yes, there are sexy times to show that Sparkle and Ganymede are still hot for each other but it’s lightly sprinkled throughout the book. The main focus is on the plot, the characters and their personalities, and how they suddenly understand the meaning of ‘family’ – of which is an incredibly important component to the conclusion of the story arc.
I suppose this book could be considered a standalone story because the focus is on the two main characters but I strongly believe that the potential impact is greatly enhanced for fans of the series. With that in mind, I’d lean towards it not being truly a standalone read. Ultimately, it’s reader’s choice.
Forever Wicked was a tale worth waiting for. I am satisfied with their happily ever after and the story told to get there. It was pure Sparkle and Ganymede just as I’ve known them to be, but with more depth and surprises. I’m a happy reader.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.