‘In the name of science,’ Melchior Pyke yelled, ‘let battle commence!’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: First of all I am deeply offended that Cherry should compare the loathsome Mister Dark to a reptile. I am slighted and aggrieved. I throw down my gauntlet and demand satisfaction.
Second of all, what is this ending? What is this lovey-dovey, wishy-washy, namby-pamby balderdash about Melchy being all right after all and Annie just accepting him back after ‘four centuries of hate’? Where was Melchior’s apparent devotion when he was belittling Annie about her upbringing, or when he lied to her about his means, or when he refused to even try to explain his ‘great work’ to her? Would it have killed him, as I said in an earlier chapter, to communicate with her? At any point he could have expressed what was written in his journal out loud. Plus, I do not for one second believe that he found nothing sinister in Mister Dark – it was he who cut that Frankenstein’s monster down from the gallows!
Then there’s Annie’s side; admiration turned to infatuation turned to jealous, damaging obsession. She was willing to betray the aufwaders for her ‘fine gentleman’, and then, when he rejected her, poison him in cold blood. That’s not love, not even in a period drama. That’s a young, naive and troubled girl putting the first man who isn’t awful to her on a pedestal and then being unable to cope when the relationship inevitably falls apart.
The bottom line is that Annie and Melchior are not meant for each other. They are not love’s young dream, and one kiss in bodies that aren’t even their’s does not a healthy relationship make. Thank goodness they’re in their ‘everlasting peace’, because the alternative would most likely have been dysfunction beyond measure.
Matt’s Thoughts: By Jarvis standards, a rather bloodless (and almost amusing) finale. We get the fun of a steampunk vs goths showdown – a nice nod to the real thing in Whitby – an ‘Awww’ ending to the love story – and it’s all over, bar a few broken skeletons and steampunks. However, this is a quartet, not a trilogy. So the rhythm of how much things will get ramped up is a bit different in this one. (As we’ll find in Book 2.)
And, look, it’s not entirely bloodless. After all that, it’s the Sally dog – who otherwise seemed destined to contribute a never-ending bunch of flatulence humour – who does not make it past the end of the book alive. There’s always a sting in the tail somewhere.