Adequate Wrap Up To Otherwise Awesome Series. I *love* that Heffernan has been courageous enough in this series to give us several things we don’t usually see in romance books, be it the gaming focus generally, girl gamers specifically, the various sexualities and atypical romances at play, etc etc etc. And this book continues that work of showing those various elements and giving several of them payoffs that at least work to close out a trilogy.
There are two primary issues with this book. The first is that the “bad guys” – IIRC, a first in this series – are barely cogent enough to even qualify as strawmen. And indeed one of them in particular seems to exist just so Heffernan can paint all “cishet straight white men” (as she would call us) as absolute bastards. Heffernan even makes this pretty explicit when she has our lead female outright state at one point “Who will fight for the other non-cishet white dudes? The people of color, the queers, the women?”. … Because “cishet straight white dudes” are pure evil and absolutely prejudiced against anyone not exactly like them? Is this attitude not prejudicial against those people? The second issue – and it too is fairly big, particularly for what is seemingly a series finale – is that the ending is quite abrupt and seemingly comes out of left field. (Indeed, it would have been more courageous for Heffernan to have left the epilogue out – while possibly not satisfying everyone, ending it that way would have felt more coherent with the rest of this tale.)
This was a story I was very much looking forward to, it simply isn’t quite up to par with the first two books in the series, and that is quite a shame. Still, recommended if only to see how Shannon’s story does wind up playing itself out and to get a bit of closure with Holly and Gwen.