Amnesty by Lara Elena Donelly

The revolution has come and gone, with Amberlough City striving to rebuild itself from the ashes. The Ospies have been ousted, and the very face of the nation has been changed in the process.

Now, a rising politician is determined to bring Amberlough’s traitors to justice.

Including double agent Cyril DePaul.

Everyone believes Cyril deserves to suffer for his crimes… except an old lover and an estranged sister. Soon, they become entangled in another web of high-stakes politics, underground crime, and personal deceit. Only the most extreme actions can save them from the iron reach of the law, before it is too late.

It’s always a bit sad when a series you love comes to an end. It’s hard to say goodbye to the characters you’ve formed a bond with, and a good ending will leave you nostalgic for the world as a whole.

And in my opinion, Amnesty is a good ending to the Amberlough Dossiers.

Lara Elena Donnelly has a marvelous ability to use the absence of something (or someone) to a greater effect than its presence. We saw this in Armistice, when the absence of a certain main character from book 1 drove the story, and it’s the same sort of idea here.

There’s a significant time-skip between Armistice and Amnesty, and in that time everything that could have been considered the “overarching plot” in book 1 has now been settled. As it says in the blurb, “The revolution has come and gone, with Amberlough City striving to rebuild itself from the ashes.” And along with the revolution, another main character from the first two books is gone now, too.

Lara Elena Donnelly uses these absences — the absence of the revolution, the absence of an enemy, the absence of a friend — to explore how her characters would cope and change in the aftermath. Amberlough City is ready to move on from its troubles, but our characters are still living them. When the public want to use Cyril as a scapegoat for his crimes against the city in the past… well, it’s hard to blame them. But Cyril does still have people who care for him, even now, and those people are willing to fight for him.

Skipping over the revolution may be somewhat of an unorthodox decision, but while I would have loved to see these characters band together and stick it to the fascists, this fits the tone of the series so much more. These books were never about the war, they were about the characters.

And in that regard, Amnesty is much more like Armistice than Amberlough. The story is more conversational, relying more on the awkwardness of relationships and the weight of the past than on any explosions or gunshots.

It’s a bittersweet ending, but in retrospect that’s the only way it could have ended.

Depending on what kind of reader you are, some of the decisions taken in this book might not be to your tastes. If you were expecting a big and explosive finale, this isn’t that. It’s smaller, more personal.

I’m glad to have read this series, and I can’t wait to see what Lara Elena Donnelly writes next.

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