Wednesday, September 18, 2013

United We Spy

Just yesterday, the series that has been a major player in my life ended. That's right, after eighteen months of waiting, United We Spy, the final chapter in Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, came out.

I bought this book at six o'clock last night, and finished it at about two o'clock this afternoon. I was so excited, and wanted to see the end! In some ways, I wasn't disappointed, and in other ways, I was.

This book, set a few months after the events of Out of Sight, Out of Time, follows our heroes as they track down the leaders of the Circle, stop them from starting World War Three, and face graduation. I must say, the characters themselves are much less involved in the actual task of finding the people than I has expected. The parental figures in the series tried to keep them out of it for their own protection, but since when do our favorite Gallagher Girls (and Gallagher Guy) ever followed adults' instruction?

In my opinion, overall, this was a great book, and a semi-satisfying end to the series. It closed the arc, and the characters came full circle (no pun intended). Yet, there were things I disliked about this, such as:

There were many things which happened in this book that should have been major plot points, but were just glazed over! Several characters which we haven't seen since Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy show up, but they only get half a chapter, and no explanation of where they have been since then, or why/how they were in the story now. Backstory on one of the main four girls is given, and it is a basis for the rest of the events of the book, but really isn't explained very well. One of the members of the Circle hints to their motive in joining, but we never learn the extent of it, and Cammie didn't express any interest in finding out! A character is revealed to be much more than an acquaintance of the main characters, but that fact isn't delved into really.

At the very end, there is an event which was, to me, jumping the shark, and really sad, and didn't really add to the plot. Well, I guess it did add to the heart feels which were in Liz's valedictorian speech.

Within the book, Cammie talk to several of the heirs of the Circle's founders. With each one, she finds herself about to hear the Circle's plan, then the heir died, the secret along with them. This got old rather quickly.

There were things I really enjoyed, too! I enjoyed how Ally experimented with the characters being in different environments and situations, and how changes affected their abilities. Of course, there was the common theme of Ally Carter books where one moment my heart was being broken, then my mind being blown, then both being mended.

And then, ZAMMIE SCENES. I loved how, against other YA fiction of today, they didn't get too sexual. They were just little take in the moment, taking in being together, taking in being alive together, romantic moments that just seemed to define the couple.

I also loved how Ally, in these last few books, has pulled in facts from previous books that at the time seemed meaningless, but ended up playing a big part in the long run. It gave me a feeling of, What other hints have I missed? This is why I consider her one of the most clever authors I have ever known. She makes her readers go back and re-read. Which I would do, anyway. Even if the series is over, I still hold fast to the fact that I will forever in my heart be a Gallagher Girl.

Which leads me to... the dedication. Ally dedicated UWS, "For all the Gallagher Girls- past, present, and future.The way Ally loves her fans makes me love her even more as an author. This series has been as much a part of her life as it has been of ours: it was not just something she wrote to put bread on the table. It was also for us.  And for herself, and the world she had created and felt like a part of.

And that world has come to its end. I cry as I write this, because this series began it all. Without it, I might never have wanted to write: fiction or otherwise. And outside of that, it has changed me, and how I view the world (not that I am placing it as a higher book than the Bible, of course!) And it also led me to befriend a girl who now I can't imagine life without. God works in mysterious ways: He planted an idea in Ally's head, knowing one day it would lead other girls to.. however it affected their lives, and how it would lead me to be a writer, and a friend. I am still grateful for that.

So, what started with unwrapping a package under a tree one cold Christmas morning ends on a rainy day in Spetember. I wish all of you happy reading, and God bless. I look forward to what else God has in store. Here's to Gallagher Girls, and to the new Embassy Row!

" 'So this is good-bye?' I asked.
   'Come on, Gallagher Girl' Zach turned to me. He winked. 'What would be the odds of that?'"

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