Last Rite (Personal Demons #3)
by Lisa Desrochers
Published by Tor Teen
May 8, 2012
Source: bought from independent bookstore
Content: Just a heads-up: this series has quite a bit more language, sex sand violence than the average YA
Series report: can you read this without reviewing books one and two? Yes.
Quick series recap: To the shame of Frannie Cavanaugh's close-knit Catholic family, she was kicked out of parochial school. In book one, she's starting her senior year at a large public high school. When mysterious bad boy Luc shows up in class, Frannie feels drawn to him. What she doesn't know is that he's a demon who's been sent to tag Frannie's soul for hell. But Gabe, an angel, shows up to stop him. Unbeknownst to Frannie, she has special powers that make her valuable to the forces of good and evil.
In book two, Frannie still feels torn between Gabe and Luc. She also learns more about her special powers. A new character, the waifish Lili, shows up in town. At the end of this book, loyalties are tested and secrets revealed. Sorry, I can't say more than that. There are serious spoilers in book two.
My take: This series has a lot of elements that often make me wary. A full-fledged love triangle. The good boy/bad boy dichotomy. All the angels and demons stuff. Multiple points of view. What first hooked me in was Frannie. I have a soft spot for the tough-on-the-outside-but-wounded-underneath characters. Lisa Desrochers is also a skillful writer, able to take some very familiar YA tropes and put her own unique spin on them.
I really enjoyed book one, Personal Demons, in which Frannie learns why two hot guys are always lurking around. (No, it's not just for her sparkling personality.) Book two, Original Sin, got a LOT edgier and more action-packed, with some mind-blowing plot twists that I'm still shocked about.
So when I saw Last Rite in the bookstore, I grabbed it. Given all the stuff that went down in Original Sin, I wanted to see how Lisa Desrochers wrapped this series up. I was able to remember the main events of the story pretty easily, as the characters spend a good part of the first couple chapters reflecting on what happened.
As Last Rite opens, it is clear that the very dramatic events in book two have definitely put a strain on the different sides of this love triangle and it shows. The alternating POVs continue in Last Rite, alternating between Frannie, Luc and Gabe. I think this technique works well, letting the reader see how each main character views the other two. I liked the fact that Last Rite seems to circle back to some of the themes and structure from the beginning of the trilogy. Just like in Personal Demons, in Last Rite Luc and Gabe have very different ideas about Frannie and her destiny, and again Frannie feels torn between them. But when someone near and dear to Frannie appears to be in terrible danger, she'll have to think for herself and take action.
There were a lot of shifting loyalties in this series -- at times I felt like I needed a chart to keep track of whether a character was mortal, angel, fallen angel, or demon and what their agenda was. And I'm not the best judge of whether or not it all made sense on a theological level.
What I love about this series is the raw emotion that Lisa Desrochers is able to evoke. Her characters suffer and feel deeply, and as a reader, I was right along for the ride. Frannie remains a sympathetic and appealing heroine. I was happy with the way things wrapped up, and I think other fans of the series will be too.
Have you read any books in this series? If not, tell me what you're reading!