Return Of The Queen. This book has a lot going on, and several problems, but ultimately there is nothing technical/ objective-ish to hang a star deduction on. The positive image of a sex worker is great – as is the more real-to-most view of what *actually* happened later in the book. The twists and turns are well executed and extend all the way into the epilogue, which is also good. But there are absolutely points where you’re going to question whether you want to continue – this book gets *dark* and seems like it is going to be getting even darker. But then comes an abrupt and extended shift, before we get back to the meat of our current story, and that saves us from the darkest areas. Still, my own biggest problem with the book is that it has exactly the same problem Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King does (and hence my title of this review). That last 10-15% in particular is pretty dang unnecessary and should have been left on the editing room floor. The epilogue itself is fine, but there is around 10% of the text in between the penultimate twist and the epilogue that seems to exist for no reason other than padding the length of the book… and why bother padding the length of the book? Does your contract or pay as an author or publisher depend on the number of words or pages or some such? It just makes no sense otherwise. Still, the tale itself here is interesting and ultimately satisfying, even if there are various problems therein. Recommended.
This review of One Last Secret by Adele Parks was originally written on December 10, 2022.