My Rating: 3.5 stars: Liked it a lot - recommend (B+)
I have adored Ms. Bast’s Dark Magick series since I picked up the first story in an anthology. The series chronicles an alternate Earth where humans and an “evil” cult-like group, the Phaendir, have incarcerated all Fae-kind (fairies, goblins, elven, etc.). The fae are working to escape their centuries-old prison by collecting pieces of a magical “key” call the bosca fadbh and a powerful spell book called the Book of Bindings. The mythology alone keeps me coming back again and again. But it’s Ms. Bast’s ability to create intricate storylines, exciting adventures, and sexy romances which stir up powerful emotions within me that causes me to stay up into the wee hours of the night reading her books.
The Fae’s quest for freedom climaxes in the fourth (and final?) book, Midnight Enchantment. The Fae are in possession of all the pieces of the puzzle needed to break free. Unfortunately, there are two camps - the Summer Queen has two pieces and does not want the walls to fall. The Shadow Queen, aligned with the majority of the Fae, has one piece and the Book of Bindings. She is now faced with the task of hunting down the last two pieces and taking them from the Summer Queen using any means necessary. In addition, the Shadow Queen must prepare for battle against the humans and Phaendir, who are at the gates of Piefferburg and ready to attack.
Stuck in the middle of this conflict are Niall Quinn and Elizabeth Cely Saintjohn. Both are inherently good people, but on opposite sides of the fence and willing to go to extremes to help their causes. This means that Niall is willing to capture and torture Elizabeth to discover the location in which she hid the last two pieces of the bosca fadbh (at the direction of the Summer Queen), and she is willing to die to protect her secret, thereby saving her mother.
Overall this was a great conclusion to this wonderful series (although I would be first in line to read more if Ms. Bast continues forward!); however, I felt the primary couple, Niall and Elizabeth, were not on par with the couplings in this series’ earlier books. I never really felt a connection with Niall and Elizabeth. I adored them, but it was difficult for me to get past the fact that she was (mentally) tortured at the hands of Niall. In addition, they were always at such odds with each other - I believed Elizabeth when she constantly lamented that there was too much between them to overcome.
With that said, the overall storyline was fabulous and kept me glued to the pages. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next in the battle between “good and evil.” I was emotionally invested in this story because of my history with this series. Although I didn’t have strong interest in Elizabeth and Niall as a couple, I did care for each individually and empathized with their internal turmoil as each struggled to do what s/he thought was best. But in the end, I wanted to see Gideon P. Amberdoyal, the evil archdirector of the Phaendir, get what he deserved. And that part of the story was riveting and fulfilling.