Review: “Madelyn’s Last Dance,” Ike Hamill

Pros: Love the characters, especially Madelyn
Cons: Confusions
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Ike Hamill’s Madelyn’s Last Dance comes after book one: Madelyn’s Nephew and book two: Madelyn’s Mistake. I absolutely love the entire series. In Madelyn’s Last Dance the characters are fighting some of their worst enemies yet: each other. Ryan had his own secret experiments going on (dangerous ones). And Cleo sees Madelyn (and those who aid her) as a challenge to her authority.

The world-building is fascinating, and the characters wonderful. In particular I love Madelyn, whose emotions don’t really work the way others’ do. She can be dangerous to be around as she wades through trouble, mayhem, and betrayal. But she’s a key to keeping the town going. She’s willing to do the pragmatic things other characters aren’t, and sometimes this results in dead bodies. She particularly butts up against any kind of local authority, because she does things her way and isn’t going to change just because someone thinks ill of her. Only her nephew, Jacob, was able to even get her to spend time with other people–she’d been a hermit originally.

Madelyn begins the third book in the series dead. Obviously that’s likely to change since the series is about her, but I won’t get into details. She is one of the most interesting main characters I’ve seen in a while. People are rarely sure whether they should be thanking her or killing her for her actions–or maybe both. Luckily there are some people Madelyn trusts: Elijah (the man she’s in a relationship with), and Jacob (her nephew) are the main ones. They understand her (as well as possible) when others don’t.

You’ll absolutely want to read the first two books before this one, preferably just before. I think we also could have used even a few lines of context to remember what “The Wisdom” is. I know the author doesn’t want to spend a bunch of space retreading things, but even an off-handed comment or two can be enough to spark a memory.

The only problems I had with Madelyn’s Last Dance were pieces of confusion here and there. How exactly did people get buried in walls? Why did one hit go through a wolf, while others connected? Some of the setting became ‘malleable geometry’. I feel like I must have skimmed over some paragraph that would have caused everything to make sense. However, that didn’t particularly detract from the story for me.

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