I’m so glad I waited to read Fuse and subsequently Burn until the later was available. If I had read Fuse and then had to wait I would have been very frustrated. I just wanted to see the ending of this story without sitting around for months.
Partridge is firmly entrenched inside the Dome with all of the other Pures and he’s having a tough time making any progress on his supposed revolution. His feelings for his father, mixed with his feelings about what the right thing to do about the Pures are making things really difficult. He’s discovered another official undermining his every move and he’s fighting a two or three-way battle at all times. He can’t be with the woman he loves, and he can’t accomplish his mission without forfeiting his personal morals.
Pressia, Bradwell, and El Capitan are dealing with the fallout of traveling to Ireland to find the missing piece of the cure Pressia’s mother was working on when she died. Bradwell has six gigantic wings on his back now instead of three small birds, El Capitan is struggling with a head injury and his love for Pressia, and Pressia is stuck in the middle of just about everything. It’s a tough situation for all of them.
Soon enough, through a series of more and more intense events the entire cast is put together one last time at the Dome. Partridge is on the inside trying to overthrow the government, but soon realizes that because the Pures have no immune systems anymore if he lets the Dome down they will all die. Pressia and her crew have arrived at the Dome and she sneaks inside to confront him. Bradwell and El Capitan take part in a siege that will hopefully use a bacterium they procured in Ireland to destroy the Dome from the outside with the help of an army of wretches.
As one might imagine: chaos ensues.
Going into this final book of the trilogy I kept my expectations on how things would end very low. I could see elements of the story leading me towards another happy ending where the Dome comes down, the Pures integrate with the wretches, and a cure is found that helps fix the fusings. Then everyone would begin the process of rebuilding the world together. You see that sort of thing a lot with these types of books.
I also could see the plot weaving me towards a very bittersweet ending where main characters are killed, love is lost, and hope is very fleeting for a brighter future. My gut was telling me to be prepared for this as the most likely outcome. There are pieces of these books that are downright brutal and a happy-go-lucky ending just seemed like it was going to be entirely out of place.
When the dust finally settled, things fell right in the middle of those two outcomes. There is some happiness for some characters, but there is a lot of sadness for others. Things don’t turn out the way that Pressia is expecting them to after all the hard work she’s put in, but they also don’t turn out anything like Partridge, El Capitan, or Bradwell hope they will either. There is a lot of hard justice at the end of these books, very similar to the Broken Empire trilogy by Mark Lawrence. As a matter of fact, I’m hoping that Julianna Baggott has the same fortitude to leave things be with these books and doesn’t fall to any pressure to write just one more book. The ending might be bittersweet and a little bit brutal, but it was a solid ending. Very realistic given the world that had been built.
This trilogy was worth the time I spent reading it and I’ve already recommended it to a few other people who I think will appreciate what the author has done with these books. Give this trilogy a chance if you are looking for some dystopian fiction that really puts the intensity of how that kind of society would be in real life into play.