⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐How often do you find yourself loving a book and disliking its narrator? The main characters? It's happened to me thrice - all in the same trilogy.
I'd have to warn you that this review will contain spoilers. There's just no way I can write about my thoughts about it without giving away certain events that happened. I'll spoiler tag those which occur in this book, but I'll take it as a given that you've read the previous two books already.
This is truly a bittersweet ending for me. I've had a love-hate relationship with Olivia and Caleb the moment I started The Opportunist, and since then, I eagerly anticipated this moment when I'd finally get into the head of the one guy who was responsible for hurting me with his betrayal. And it has little to do with what Olivia walked in on that fateful night at his office. The ultimate betrayal was marrying someone who wasn't Olivia.
In this series ender, a lot of revelations were uncovered - many of which had me thinking, "if only..." If only
he fought for her harder. If only
those text messages were sent. If only
she let her guard down a little. If only
they communicated after that night
. But if the resolution was that easy I wouldn't have gotten the chance to struggle with Olivia, wish harm on Leah (without feeling guilty) or cry with Caleb. Plus, it wouldn't be a Tarryn Fisher novel if it didn't make me want to hurl my reader against the wall now, would it? Everyone in this series made mistakes and decisions that were just propelled by their obsession and their need to protect themselves from heartbreak.
To me, this didn't end in a HEA, and it's not because they didn't get married nor have a baby of their own.
I had an idea of how it was supposed to end (one that included creative ways of killing off a certain character). I wished for Olivia and Caleb to end up together like most did, but I would've been satisfied had Olivia and Noah worked out despite my belief that a huge factor of their marriage was just due to the pleasure of shared company. I wasn't pleased with the direction that Noah's character took. Where was my charming, self-assured sexy Ghandi who was good for Olivia? I was also disappointed with how convenient Estella's relationship with Caleb came to be. I never had a memory of my parents being together, but I remember being six years old and crying and refusing to spend a Saturday with my mother who was a stranger to me then (I'm close with mummy dearest now, by the way.) I believe in separation anxiety and abandonment issues and all those psychoanalytic crap, which is why Estella's reactions don't feel realistic to me. Then again, she is a different child, and maybe her issues will come out later, when we can't witness it anymore.
There was also a point when I was so mad at Caleb for deciding what role he would play in Estella's life based on her blood. Like, one moment he was so in-love with his daughter and the next he wouldn't even fight for her? He's her father regardless of whose biological child she is. Then again, that's who Caleb is, right? The one who never fought for Olivia. I'm bitter, I know.
But despite all my issues, I understood why it ended the way it did. I say that it's not a HEA because there would always be a void in their hearts which can never be filled by the other. They had a vision of life that will never be a reality. I don't know if forgiveness and trust can be fully given, or past hurts forgotten. I look at Olivia and see how much she's changed from all she has lost. For me it's not a betrayal of character but a surrender to the fact that some wants just outweigh other wants. Same goes for Caleb. I still don't like him, but I'd be lying if I say that I wouldn't want a Caleb for myself who knows me the best and who's still there despite everything that has happened. He's as much a victim as he was a perpetrator and observer. I think he carried the heaviest guilt and because of that I can never bring myself to hate him. And lastly, while I hate Leah to pieces, I understand some
of her behavior and I don't think it was unreasonable of her to not want Olivia in the picture if Caleb and Estella were to have a relationship.
While Olivia and Caleb's behavior may be initially alluded to their obsession and their selfish wants, the later years proved that they only acted based on what they thought was best for the other and not necessarily what the other person wanted. I would normally hate this self-righteous mentality, but in this case it just wasn't enough for me to write this book off. I feel that they both settled for less, yes, but I also know that there was a transformation in them. If I questioned their relationship before, this ending just proved to me that they are good for each other, flaws and all.
And honestly, I just don't need a perfect ending all the time. I loved this. I LOVED the entire series. I loved its originality and its bravery. I loved the nostalgia and the sentimentality. I loved the risks that Tarryn Fisher took with this. For me, they all paid off.