There have not been many series out there that have constantly delivered such high quality content and continually exceeded my expectations instalment after instalment, but to me The Artist Trilogy has been a journey of a lifetime and I can honestly say that this last book has simply blown my mind. In the most perfect conclusion imaginable, our beloved heroine finally finds what she’s been looking for all along, but it is a bumpy ride from start to finish, with twists and turns at every corner, and more than one heavy price to pay.
“My Ellie. My beautiful girl. I will burn for you. I will die for you.”
The story resumes where the previous book ended, in Mexico, with Ellie, Camden and Javier having formed a shaky alliance revolving around a common enemy – Travis. They have agreed to help each other achieve their goals, but as trust levels are at an all time low, they are constantly wary of one another, their volatile emotions only further complicating the situation.
“I don’t think there are good guys and bad guys anymore. I don’t even know what I am.”
Ellie’s heart has finally found its home, it knows what it wants, but her past weaknesses have fractured an already uncertain relationship that never got a chance to flourish properly. She desperately aches for the man who risked his life for hers, but he no longer trusts her or himself to love her. He is still willing to endanger his life to help her, but his pain won’t allow him to give her his heart.
“How could I ever explain that my body got what it needed at the time but my heart was fooled?”
As they set off on an almost hopeless adventure of rescue, revenge and takeover, we watch them navigate through the perils of Central America, with Travis’ men constantly at their heels, shady characters joining the show as they recruit the cavalry, but trusting no one and least of all, each other. By living now in Javier’s world and seeing him in his element, every one of Ellie’s doubts about the man dissipates as he shows her his true colours. His priorities are no longer in question and her feelings for him only get clearer and easier to accept as he gets closer to his true destiny.
“Oh, angel, you forget. You’re the only one who gave me a soul. If I don’t have one anymore, it’s not my fault.”
Camden is her rock. His unwavering loyalty and devotion ground her, give her hope even when there’s no hope in sight, and the slimmer their chances of surviving become, the more desperate she becomes not to waste any more time without him knowing how she feels. It’s a journey of self-discovery, a fast-paced race against time and against all odds. We see our heroine as a changed person, one more at peace with who she is and with her past. This is as much of an internal quest for Ellie as it is a quest to save her loved ones, and while I always believed this would ultimately be a story of redemption, I believe now that it more one of self-acceptance and learning that life is not about being good or bad, a hero or a villain, but embracing all the shades in between and being true to yourself, your conscience, and those you love the most.
“… when you’re told over and over again about how immoral you are, how bad, how wicked, how unlikeable, how terrible you are, it’s hard to hear anyone say any different. I felt like a fraud being good just as I felt like a fraud being bad.”
I am on such a high from reading this book, the unexpected twists and all the emotionally charged scenes making this one roller-coaster ride I never wanted to get off from. Superb writing style, meticulously developed characters whose constant tip-toeing on the precipice of immorality makes us forever torn over them, an engaging and utterly addictive storyline like no other I’ve ever come across – this is a series that needs to be on everyone’s reading list. I am giving this book and the series as a whole my honorary six stars of excellence for never letting me down and for pushing the boundaries at every corner. Bravo, Ms Halle, you left me speechless!
“… there are some things in this world more important than love. Some things that last longer. Empires. You build something great, something large, something that gets people’s attention, and you’re remembered forever. You love a girl, give her your heart, and you won’t be remembered six years later. Love doesn’t last. But empires do. They go on. And on. Even if just in history books.”