I received an ARC from the publisher in return for a review, which was published by Bowling Green Daily News.
“Forever Doon” by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Blink Publishing (an imprint of Zondervan/Harper Collins), 2016. 368 pages. $17.99.
“With the witch of Doon on the throne, Jamie believed dead and Duncan and Mackenna trapped in Alloway, Veronica has no choice but to put her grief aside and prepare her remaining followers for the impending battle against the false queen and her forces. But while on a covert mission to steal a powerful elixir from the castle, Veronica discovers her true love may actually be alive and fighting a battle of his own. With the Brig o’ Doon destroyed and the portal fragmented, Doon’s forces are not only divided but also isolated in different dimensions. With the help of a storyteller as ancient as the witch herself, Kenna and Duncan learn they must rebuild the bridge to have any chance of crossing back into Doon with their ragtag army. But when Mackenna insists on fighting as well, Duncan soon realizes the only way he can ensure her safety is to turn her into a cold-hearted killer. For Vee, Jamie, Kenna and Duncan, saving their kingdom while keeping their lives intact will take a miracle.”
We finally return to Doon, with the last book in this quartet. After the cliffhanger of “Shades of Doon,” the third book in this series, I eagerly awaited this book to arrive on my doorstep. Corp and Langdon do not disappoint in their final installment. Many of the things I loved about the previous three novels were still present, and there were new and better twists to the story. The Doon series is a wonderful mix of fantasy, romance and drama in a young adult novel. Although it is not necessarily dealing with things we would call an everyday reality (high school, cancer, moving, etc.), it still faces many realities head-on: relationships, family issues, drama, faith, acceptance and more.
One of the most exciting and unexpected new twists to “Forever Doon” is that it is told from four viewpoints. Not only are we seeing the story from Veronica and Mackenna, we now hear Jamie’s and Duncan’s viewpoints as well. At first, it threw me off because it was not something I was expecting. However, after a few of these sections I was grateful for the added viewpoints. It added dimension and depth to each character and was a nice change with two male and two female perspectives. Now I’m equally curious which author wrote which …
Having said that I loved the new viewpoints, I was slightly frustrated with Mackenna and Duncan. If you are older, it can be frustrating to see their logic and why they are making the decisions they are. I may have shouted a couple of times, annoyed that they were making choices for silly reasons. However, we have to stop and think about what the characters are facing and their age. It works in the setting, and the story. Even if it is like one of those moments in a movie when you are almost too embarrassed to watch it happen, or just frustrated you want to scream at the screen. The fact that the writers can evoke such emotion is a great thing.
As always we are given new characters, and a few of them I really enjoyed. One of the things I have always loved about Doon is that it is wonderfully diverse and open to those who come through the portal. That never changes, and I was excited to see even more of this. In fact, I would have liked more of it. Sadly, I think with the two new viewpoints the previous main side characters fall behind a bit. We hear less from those we love such as Fiona and Fergus, and I did miss them. Veronica and Mackenna are still best friends, however, and I truly love what they did with their friendship in this series, especially in this final book.
The pop culture references were as relevant and fun as always. Pop culture references can date a novel in a bad way, but because Mackenna is such a Broadway fanatic, it is not only new pop songs, movies or plays that she mentions. She is able to bring the Broadway references to the story in a way that makes it perfect. It is even better with references to Harry Potter (which shall never die). Another thing that works in their favor is when they reference something modern around original Doonians who have been out of touch in the modern era, and then to new recruits to Doon who can understand it, which one scene in particular really highlights. I enjoyed the pop culture and think others will for a long time as well.
Although we have seen the setting change in the stories before, from modern to Doon, from Scotland to the United States, this novel really highlights the differences in the two. Because there were characters stranded in the modern era, I think the pieces we see from this side are really intriguing. Having one character picked up from a place they know and love and deposited in another always gives us further insight into their characters. Not only this, but we still continued to see Doon through Veronica’s eyes and see the trials that she was facing. The people of Doon, the landscapes, battles and changes were all written with attention to detail.
Characters face ever more difficult tasks in this novel. From learning how to find your strength and how to survive, to remembering that there is always joy to be found, this series continues to cover great ground. With small and large battles, private fights and sparring moments, this novel is touching and enchanting. Though a few characters are lost, this is an ending to be remembered.
For now, the Doon series is over, but perhaps there will be more stories in the future. Forever Doon!
I am doing a Giveaway! Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon autographed a “Shades of Doon” poster for me to giveaway. Click on the link to register – It will run until midnight of June 29th!